A few years ago, activist Samir Zaveri filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court, claiming there was a lack of prompt medical help for railway accident victims. The court ordered railway authorities to set up Emergency Medical Rooms (EMRs) at all stations in Mumbai. That’s when brothers Dr Rahul and Dr Amol Ghule came on board and shared their idea of setting up subsidised clinics with the authorities.
But not many know that it was a personal tragedy which became the driving force behind this mission. Dr Rahul shares, “In 2015, my parents met with an accident on the road and my mother suffered from a severe head injury .Unfortunately , she didn’t get immediate medical aid. Today , she is paralysed and bedridden because of the delay in her treatment. Despite being doctors, we couldn’t help her. So, we decided to do something to make medical facilities more easily available for Mumbaikars.“ Another reason that prompted them to deliver services at minimum costs is the lack of awareness among people when it comes to getting regular health check-ups. “Most people visit a doctor only if they fall ill or have medical complications.We are trying to change that and these subsidised rates will definitely benefit them,“ says Dr Amol.
FREE BLOOD PRESSURE CHECK-UPS, DISCOUNTS ON MEDICINES AND OTHER SERVICES
Irrespective of their social and economic background, anyone can come visit these `1 Clinics.They boast of essential equipment including ECG machines, oxygen cylinders, ambu bags, pulse oximeters, emergency drugs and intubation. Dr Rahul says, “Railway accidents are one of the major causes of deaths and disabilities in Mumbai. The aim is to provide treatment to accident victims within the golden hour.Once emergency medical aid is given, the patient can be taken to a nearby hospital for further treatment.“ The clinics also give up to 25 per cent discount on pathology tests and medicines available in their pharmacies.
According to on-duty pharmacist Parthiv Bhatia, it’s the OPD section that has been getting a staggering response from the public. “Though it has been just a week, we already have more than 150 patients a day in one centre alone. While getting your blood pressure checked is absolutely free, other basic tests like blood sugar can be availed at just `25,“ he says.
Businessman Rahul Ambavane, who visited the Ghatkopar clinic for a routine health examination, shares, “I did an ECG test and also checked my blood sugar levels.The minimum cost of an ECG at any hospital in Mumbai is `200 -`300 rupees. But I just paid `76 here. Even my family physician charges `200 for consultation alone! I will recommend it to people who want to get a general check-up.“
MORE SPECIALISED DOCTORS TO COME ON BOARD
Apart from 14 new clinics on the Central line stations, there are plans of expanding these EMRs to Western Railways in the next two months. Dr Savita Uppud, a gynaecologist at one of the centres, says, “Currently , we have a staff strength of four doctors, a nurse and a paramedic per dispensary . But seeing the response, we are getting more doctors on board from not only reputed hospitals in Mumbai, but also from cities like Pune. We are also roping in specialists in various fields, who will be available for consultation for a few hours every day .“
AN ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP FOR bv JUST Rs 10
A paramedic at one of the clinics shares, “People with diabetes and hypertension have to get regular check-ups, which can be expensive. So, for them, we’ve started a membership plan. They will also get priority treatment at the centre.“
victims within the golden hour. checked is absolutely free,
Until May 14 this year, already 1,044 people -112 women and 932 men -have died in accidents on Mumbai locals. According to statistics, 3,202 passengers died and 3,363 were injured on the suburban railway network last year. The Central line recorded the highest number of deaths.