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Gujarat: Mobile medical units launched to provide healthcare to underserved mining villages

This is a first of its kind, public healthcare project funded by District Mineral Foundation, Commissionerate of Geology & Mining and operated by HOPS Healthcare.

A first of its kind telehealth project for dissemination and outreach of Primary healthcare services in rural areas was launched in Gujarat earlier this month. Chief Secretary, Government of Gujarat, Anil Mukim inaugurated the Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) and Commissioner Geology and Mining, Arun Kumar Solanki (I.A.S) flagged off the MMU in Gandhinagar on November 6, 2020 to be deployed in villages of Dahod and Panchmahal districts. Mrs. Veena Padia, Director, District Mineral Foundation (DMF) created the outline for providing high end screening services in mining affected villages.

The van became operable from 9th November 2020 in 33 mining villages. It is expected to serve close to 1 lakh underserved population. Under National Health Mission, the government has been utilizing Mobile Medical Units (MMU) to facilitate access to Public healthcare facilities to the doorsteps of marginal communities and villagers residing in inaccessible, underserved, remote locations.

To provide better primary healthcare and Point of Care facilities in areas where healthcare centres are far off, the DMF has decided to utilise state of the art Mobile Medical Units equipped with integrated medical and pathology equipment, patient electronic medical records system (ICT Platform), and digital telehealth consultation facility. All the facilities will be provided free of cost to the rural population and it will enable better referrals to government health centers. 

The MMU will provide more than 50 laboratory investigations that include hematology and biochemistry tests and various screening facilities covering general examination, screening for cardiovascular diseases, communicable and non-communicable diseases, diabetes, antenatal and neonatal screening, child and adolescent health screening, kidney and liver disorders, oral health screening, skin diseases, screening for bone, joint, and muscle disorders and basic OPD care.

It will provide on the spot diagnosis and treatment. The MMU consists of a staff of four people including an MBBS doctor, staff nurse (para-medical personnel) and a lab technician. The ICT platform (E-clinic) captures data on the spot and enables real-time data transfer, monitoring and analysis. Telemedicine consultation facility with specialists and super specialists provides easy access to the villagers and reduces referrals and burden on tertiary healthcare centers where there is a shortage of practitioners and medical staff. 

(Inside view of the Mobile Medical Unit operated by the doctor and the staff) 

In the first phase, the Mobile Medical Unit will operate and cover a few regions in the eastern part of the state. In Panchmahal district, it will cover Godhra taluka – Megha Muvadi, Mirap,  Morva Hadaf, Natpur, Rasulpur, Kasanpur, Rampur, Bamana, Kelod, Naglod, Kadadara, and in Shehera Taluka –  Mataria Vyas, Nada, Boriavi, Sajivav, Gangadiya and Mahelan villages. Around 62,838 people will be benefit from the doorstep, primary healthcare facilities.

In Dahod district, it will cover Devgadh Bariya’s Bathwada, Rama, Chenpur, Nathudi, Uchvan, Baina, Juna Bariya, Virol, Singor Bhadbha, Kali Dungari, Ratadiya, Ranipura villages. Close to 37,545 people of these villages will be able to get Primary healthcare services at their doorstep with consultation from expert doctors and specialists from tier 1 cities.

Commenting on the flagging off of the Mobile Medical Unit, Dr. Reema Joshi, Project Head – Digital Health & Telemedicine, HOPS Healthcare stated, “Mobile Medical Unit as an outreach platform has an excellent potential to make public healthcare facilities available in unreachable areas. To provide better care facilities, we have added 50+ pathology investigations which solves the problem of traveling for the villagers who reside in remote areas and those who don’t have access to primary healthcare centers. With telemedicine consultation facility available, patients will also have access to the best specialists from big cities. With MMU, we are trying to bridge the gap and strengthen the Public Healthcare System in the state. Close to 1 lakh people will benefit from this government initiative.”

This is a first of its kind, public healthcare project funded by District Mineral Foundation, Commissionerate of Geology & Mining and operated by HOPS Healthcare. The company has worked on several related projects for providing healthcare services to remote and underserved population and strengthening the last mile connectivity in the state. The project is planned to be scaled across Gujarat with a total of 10 Vans to be deployed. 

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Aarti is a certified introvert who loves to study human emotions. A student of English literature whose love is inscribed for books and movies.

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