Ten years ago, on 26th December 2004 when the Tsunami hit several countries including India, it was a tragedy for several living in those affected areas. However, one M.B.B.S student in the middle of this crisis, stood up to change the lives of those victims. Little did he know then that this act would change the course of rest of his life.
Dr. Dayaprasad, who was an MBBS student when he started his journey with Tsunami relief efforts, is now on his way to creating a platform for healthcare volunteerism, Aarogya Seva. He wanted to form a rescue team and visit the tsunami hit areas and provide acute healthcare for those in need. His friend, a photographer and four of his students joined him along in the relief efforts. They went all the way from Kolar to Nagapattinam (one the the most affected areas by Tsunami) to provide disaster relief. It took over a year for the rehab to take some shape.
An auspicious event like a wedding in the middle of a Tsunami hit area is a path to hope and livelihood among the people living there.
Today he is a doctor with specialization in public health, not by degree but by experience.
He says, even after 10 years since this disaster, the health system for common people has not changed much, accounting to the loss of one of the students of Home for HIV affected children because the nearby hospitals did not have good emergency treatment facilities.
He believes healthcare should be de-commodified in order to reach everyone in our country.
Photo Credit: Alok Johri
Aarogya Seva will be a platform for both healthcare and non-healthcare professionals to volunteer their time effectively in providing services to those who cannot afford quality healthcare. Currently the organization has several programs including :
“My quest to find out a mechanism where I can get as many people involved in what I am doing and thats why I started Aarogya Seva” says Dr. Dayaprasad.
When he speaks to his friends, peers, doctors from his networks for going with him to B.R. Hills or places like Uttarkhand disaster struck areas, etc., they have an urge to do something. But they don’t want to take too much responsibility. They want to do it one time when they find time – and do just their part of the contribution to serve the community.
He realized that he got these people involved, but how can he keep this sustainable and scale it to a greater level where any person joins the mission if he is interested in volunteering. That is when he realized the need to institutionalize this thought process !
Now even if he doesn’t meet people, they can see the organization and get convinced to do the job they want to at their convenience. The organization has no bounds to work with anyone who want to volunteer.
Their target is to reach out to 100,000 doctors in next 3 years. With these doctors committing to just treat two patients a month, they will be able to treat 25 lac or 2.5 million patients per year. In other words, this number can amount to what a Apollo chain of hospitals diagnoses per year through its Outpatient department (reference- annual report of Apollo 2013 – 2014). Aarogya Seva will be seeing the exact same number of patients with free consultations. This will be made possible with number of coordinators across different cities. Currently there are two coordinators working based out of Bangalore covering urban and rural Bangalore. They have conducted several pilots of this model. Now they plan to recruit 10 coordinators in 10 different cities across the country in the next 3 years.
Their mantra – If one doctor commits to 2 patients a month, then we will have 2.5 million patients treated per year.
Eventually the goal is to make everyone in the health system to commit in order to make volunteering into a movement.
Website – Aarogya Seva
About the Author:
Adithya Pasupuleti works in the space of student innovation and entrepreneurship. He is the founder at Innovation 101 – which empowers student innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs. He has worked with several organizations like HTIC – IIT Madras, IIM Bangalore, Stanford India Biodesign, Ganit Labs, IISc-Bangalore and NCBS for various capacities. During his graduation, he started a non-profit called Little Seva that supports underprivileged children. Adithya can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/padithya or firstname.lastname@example.org