Jamshedpur, Sept. 23: In the tribal hamlets of East Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan districts in Jharkhand, healthcare services still remain inaccessible. However, at Tata Steel Foundation (TSF), the health team has ensured that the deficit of medical treatment among rural communities is capped through the incessant call to duty by its ecosystem of Mobile Medical Units (MMUs).
During lockdown period, when all other activities had almost stopped, the MMU services of TSF continued its health intervention with special permission from the government and abiding by the COVID-19 guidelines of maintaining social distancing, wearing of mask and regular sanitisation of hands and vehicles. During the period, April 1 to August 30, a total of 10,627 people were treated. During the period, rigorous coronavirus related awareness programmes were held at the community level. MMUs staff were given special duty at 13 government identified quarantine centres in Seraikela-Kharsawan district in the month of June to provide health services to the people staying in these centres.
This service began in the year 2009 and has so far touched the lives of nearly 2.5 lakh people. This service was started with two vans in East Singhbhum district and later another van was started for Seraikela-Kharsawan district of Jharkhand in 2013. This service runs in collaboration with the National Rural Health Mission at the district level. The objective of the service is to provide all the primary health services in villages in selected blocks of the districts through MMUs where healthcare facilities are either absent or limited.
72 clinical sites have been identified by the government for rendering the MMU services in Patamda, Potka and Jamshedpur blocks in the East Singhbhum district and in Gamharia and Rajnagar blocks in the Seraikela-Kharsawan district of Jharkhand.
Each MMU has doctor in-charge, pharmacist, pathology technician, ANM, helper and driver. There are project coordinators running the project. These MMUs provide clinical services to community in areas where other clinical services are minimum or nil. Medicines are provided free of cost, pathology test as required done free of cost, counselling done. Patient details are registered and clinical parameters are captured, and medical consultation is subsequently provided. If a patient requires advanced diagnostic tests or specialists’ advice, the person is referred to the nearest government hospital along with printed patient details and clinical findings.
Awareness programmes are organised regularly on seasonal diseases, water-borne diseases, safe drinking water, basic health and hygiene, nutritional awareness and promotion of locally available food to be consumed. The service also includes encouraging people to take part in government-initiated health interventions like special health camps, school health programmes, deworming drives, Vitamin A drives. All different national and international health days are celebrated at the community level partnering with the government.
Talking about other healthcare services provided by TSF, Niloy Mitter, Head (Health), Corporate Social Responsibility, Tata Steel says, “Apart from providing health services through MMUs, other projects include MANSI that works on saving the babies with high health related risks, RISHTA that caters to the adolescent for not getting married before the legal age, DRISHTI that works on preventable blindness by doing free cataract operation in a specially designed MMUs, HIV/AIDS programmes helping the truck drivers to get linked to centres and taking care of HIV affected children for their education, mother and child clinic for proper immunisation and antenatal care.”
TSF is committed to work on traditional healthcare system to strengthen the healers where there is unavailability of doctors. The foundation is also coming up in a big way in Kolhan region through the MANSI project. As a part of the project, the focus will be on mothers to make them healthy through 1000 days nutrition programme through a life cycle approach with the objective to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of United Nations well before 2030.