How Nayati Healthcare is providing prompt medical attention to lakhs of pilgrims in Uttarakhand
Like several other pilgrims, MK Sevaya travelled to Badrinath to visit its famous temple. While making his way uphill through mud, slush, and rocks, Sevaya began feeling dizzy and nauseous. A few minutes later, he was brought in a semi-conscious state to a mobile medical unit situated at the peak.
“He was in a state of hypoxemia and the oxygen supply to his blood had become very low. We immediately administered him with oxygen and provided the required medication after which he reached a stable condition,” Dr Krishna, Physician, Nayati Healthcare, tells YourStory.
If not for the timely treatment, Sevaya could have lost his life.
Situated 11,000 feet above sea level in the Tehri-Garhwal hill tracks of Uttarakhand, with the majestic Neelkanth peak forming an enchanting backdrop, Badrinath is one of the most pristine and sacred places in India with an average of seven to 10 lakh pilgrims visiting it every year.
However, many of the pilgrims tend to suffer from ailments like joint pain, vertigo, fever, diarrhea, headache as well as respiratory congestion due to the steep and arduous ascent.
With very few fully-equipped hospitals in the region, access to healthcare for the pilgrims and residents remains a far-fetched dream. According to a report published by NITI Aayog, Uttarakhand’s health index is one of the lowest in India.
Niira Radia’s Nayati Healthcare stepped in to address this issue and introduced a fleet of 17 mobile medical units with 140 paramedic staff. Since its inception in 2012, the units have helped over four lakh pilgrims recoup from various illnesses, free of cost, and continue their journey.
Bringing healthcare to pilgrims
People from various social, economic, and geographic backgrounds across India go on pilgrimages in a quest to attain spiritual merit. On the journey, most of them are deprived of even basic medical facilities due to rocky terrain, lack of resources, and privatisation of healthcare facilities.
“A huge portion of the Indian population die from preventable diseases and infections. In order to avoid this, it is necessary to make quality healthcare accessible to all. Nayati Healthcare is working towards just that since the establishment of its first facility at Badrinath in 2012 ,” says Niira Radia, Chairperson and Promoter, Nayati Healthcare.
The entity first set up four mobile units with a team of doctors and paramedic staff near the local police station, bus stand, as well as the place of worship in Badrinath.
“The entire team reaches the town a week before the temple is opened for the general public. They usually spend the first few days setting up medical facilities in the vans. These mobile units are well-equipped to treat all kinds of emergencies with the provision of Lab, X-Ray services, and OPD related aid,” Dr Krishna explains.
Today, Nayati Healthcare has 17 mobile units spread across different places in and around Badrinath like Rudraprayag, Karanprayag, and Chamoli. While most of the vans that are set up belong to Mazda, some of them are the Tata Winger and Magic models.
Uttarakhand has been prone to natural disasters like landslides, flash floods, and cloud bursts over the years leading to large-scale destruction of lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure.
It is during these time of crisis when the need for healthcare and resources becomes imperative. Nayati Healthcare employs trained disaster management personnel in the affected areas and dispenses medicines to the communities free of cost.
Besides this, the institution also conducts different relief and screening camps. For instance, in 2018, the team organised a free gynecology and obstetrics camp targeting the female population of Chamoli. After the cloudburst in the town of Pittoragarh that killed 30 people in 2016, the company hosted overall health inspection camps in and around the area.
“After the successful intervention in Badrinath, we began spreading our wings to Tier II and Tier III cities. As soon as we garnered enough funds through private equity and bank loans, we established super specialty hospitals in Mathura, Delhi, and Agra. We are now in the process of setting up healthcare centres in other cities like Amritsar and Gurugram as well,” says Radia.
The inception of Nayati Healthcare
Niira Radia hails from a family of devotees who visit Badrinath frequently. However, when she travelled to the place in 2011, she was appalled by the lack of medical facilities in the area. The district was facing an acute shortage of qualified doctors owing to the tough landscape. “That was when I decided to bring healthcare to the people on the ground,” she says.