July 15, 2011

INDIA: 'Vayomithram' has served over 850 senior citizens

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Kerala / The New Indian Express / July 15, 2011

Around 850 senior citizens in the Corporation limits have thus far availed of the services of the mobile clinic operated under the aegis of ‘Vayomithram’, a joint venture of Kerala Social Security Mission (KSSM) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). One more mobile unit will be pressed into service soon, officials said.

Vayomithram means friend of the aged.

The mobile clinic offers palliative care and is equipped to conduct basic health tests. Last March, ‘Vayomithram’ started providing free ambulance services to senior citizens above the age of 65, within the limits of the Corporation. Senior citizens belonging to any of the 100 wards can utilise the service in an emergency. A station situated near the Chithira Thirunal Park at East Fort, operates one ambulance at present which is available round-the-clock. The ambulance service, however, is yet to gain popularity. So far, only around eight trips were made by the service.

‘Vayomithram’ is an extensive programme that provides necessary amenities to senior citizens, including palliative care for the invalids, 24-hour help desk, service of counsellors at the help desk, information regarding hospital, police and ambulance through a telephone number, registration to facilitate services for the elderly other than the ambulance service. The Mobile Palliative Care Unit is manned by a doctor and a nurse. The services of the unit can be availed of through the 24-hour help desk. The mobile unit is equipped to conduct various tests, including blood tests and checking blood pressure.

The programme was first launched in Kollam and then extended to Thiruvananthapuram. At present, Thiruvananthapuram has one mobile clinic. One more will be pressed into service soon, Renny George, Senior Counsellor/ Coordinator of KSSM said.

‘Vayomithram’ is a venture of KSSM, NRHM and the local body concerned. At present, the KSSM is bearing the expenditure and it is to be shared by all three within one year. ‘’Trained personnel with a Masters in Social Work are selected as counsellors. 42 candidates are to be recruited to serve all the stations. Three counsellors will serve under one station in three shifts a day. Doctors are from the NHRM,’’ says Dr R Ashok, Executive Director, KSSM.

‘’A team of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) workers will conduct a survey among senior citizens in slum areas and selected people will be provided with palliative care through our mobile clinic. In Thiruvananthapuram, one mobile clinical unit is functioning at present and 850 people have utilised the services of the unit till June 13,’’ he said.

‘Vayomithram’ project will be launched in Malappuram on July 23. As part of the 100-days action plan of the government, the plan is proposed to be extended to all district headquarters before July 30.

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