Chennai: There is a flurry of activity at Annai Shanthi Nagar in Anna Nagar as soon as the van is sighted. People pick up their kids and old people waddle up to the mobile van that practically brings medical ‘relief’ to their doorstep.
This medical outreach is part of the ‘Life First’ initiative of Kotak Life in collaboration with Wockhardt Foundation, a Mumbai-based organisation, to provide free service such as diagnosis, treatment, free medicines and multivitamin tablets to poor people who need them but cannot afford them.
Ravi Shankar, programme coordinator, Anna Nagar, Wockhardt Foundation, said, “The initiative was first started in August 2018. Initially, Kotak Life provided three vans under their corporate social responsibility and at present there are six in Chennai that go around the city. Our main focus is to help and serve the poor by providing them free health advice and medicines.”
Each mobile van has a team – a doctor, pharmacist and programme coordinator – to help the people of the locality lead a healthy life. Each day, these mobile vans visit two locations in the city among the 21 localities that they usually do.
This mobile medical van has been helping the residents of Annai Shanthi Nagar, Anna Nagar, on a regular basis – once in 15 days, usually on Tuesdays. The van reaches the place by 9.30 am and stays there till 12 noon.
“This van is really useful to people like us and I personally feel that this initiative is very good because it is free of charge.It is very convenient for us. Our time and money is saved. Doctors suggested a few changes in our daily routine to lead a healthy lifestyle,” beams Kalaivani, one of the residents of Anna Nagar who benefited by the mobile van that halted at Annai Shanthi Nagar Tuesday, with Dr Janakiraman; pharmacist Balaji and coordinator Ravi Shankar in attendance.
Another resident said, “I come from a economically backward family, so we cannot shell out money for medicines and hospital; but because of this van, my whole family is happy as we can save the money we spend on children’s tablets and syrups.”
Dr Janakiraman said, “People approach us as soon as they see our van and we help them by giving them the best medicines. However, we do not give injections.”
Dr Rishikesh Vishe, Wockhardt Foundation, Mumbai, said, “This project is a CSR initiative of Kotak Life and our foundation is only an implementing agency. The main aim of the project is to help people from lower economic strata of society by saving their money. Today, a simple visit to the doctor would burn a hole in their pocket. So, by providing free medical advice and medicines we are helping the poor. Our doctors not only provide medical assistance but also give tips on health, habits, etc., for about 5-10 minutes. By doing so, they are not only curing the sick but preventing people from falling sick by helping them change their lifestyle. Above all, our doctors are registered MCI doctors.”
Many residents make use of this free medical check-up and they find it really convenient, especially old people, since they cannot travel and daily wage labourers cannot afford to take leave to visit the doctor. The van eliminates all these problems.
This article was written by Akshya Ramesh.