June 21, 2010

INDIA: ILC-India launches healthcare service for elderly women

PUNE, Maharashtra / The Indian Express / Healthcare / June 21, 2010

Express News Service

The International Longevity Centre-India has initiated a novel project ‘Aajibai Sathi Batwa’ which provides partial medical support to needy elderly women. Identity cards were distributed to some 15 grandmothers out of 200 that have been identified under the programme. Dr SD Gokhale, president, ILC-India, said they scrutinised the voters list for women who were above 60 and were needy.

“A batch of social work students from Bharati Vidyapeeth were enlisted for conducting the survey and we identified 200 such grannies who lived below poverty line (BPL) and were living alone or with relatives,” he added. ILC-India has taken the initiative to help elderly ‘aaji’s’ who are poor and have no one to support them.

“We are not aiming to tackle diseases like cancer or heart problems, a basic fund of Rs 6000 will be spent annually for sponsoring an elderly woman and partially taking care of her medical needs. Several chemists and doctors known as Jyeshtamitra, who are committed to the cause, are supporting the project by providing their services at concessional rate,” said Gokhale.

“Vulnerability among elderly women is a cause of concern,” said Gokhale, who pointed out that a survey of destitute and elderly population by the Pune police commissionerate had revealed that the families of the underprivileged often tend to spend money on education and other needs of the children, and often ignore medical needs of the elderly.

In a family set up, a grandmother always had a bag of home made herbal medicines and it was popularly known as ‘aajibaicha batwa’ which contained medicines that she would dispense to the family members.

The Bank of Maharashtra has given a fund of Rs one lakh to start the initiative apart from other donors, Gokhale added.

© 2010 The Indian Express Limited