Developing world trends on ageing
Our joint venture, IndiaFirst, has been supporting HelpAge, India’s mobile medicare unit (MMU) of Mumbai since January 2010. The MMU gives dignity to India’s elderly, and is delivered through the work of Age UK in collaboration with their sister organisation HelpAge International.
In India, 90% of over 60 year-olds are retired and do not receive benefits such as a pension, health insurance and treatment. In addition to this, some older people face isolation and neglect from their family.
The MMU covers 22 slum areas of Mumbai giving free treatment to over 2,000 patients aged 65 and over each month. In the first 6 months of this year the MMU has helped a staggering 15,500 of Mumbai’s most vulnerable elderly.
IndiaFirst’s support has enabled the MMU to cover the costs of medicine doctors, pharmacist, project officers and drivers salaries along with fuel and training costs too.
Ms Sawant – what the MMU experiences first hand
Ms Sawant, 72, is a widow; her husband died a few years ago. She has one son and four daughters, all of whom are married and settled with their families. At the moment she lives with her son and daughter-in-law. She does not get much financial support from her family members. Her health has deteriorated – she has hypertension, has been diabetic for the last ten years and also suffers from joint pain. Her blood sugar levels used to fluctuate frequently and it was affecting her severely. Due to this, she was inactive at home. She used to feel neglected by family members.
Ms Sawant regularly takes medicine from the MMU and now her blood pressure and blood glucose levels are under control. She feels better and revived, being more active in her home and able to move around. She is assisting her family members and is now looking after her grandchildren. She insists that other senior citizens should also benefit from the MMU services. She has extended her heartfelt thanks to HelpAge India and those who support them.
"While IndiaFirst has been associated with Helpage India for over two years, it’s been an overwhelming experience supporting this noble cause. Statistics also show that there is a rapid growth in the aging population and these are most vulnerable just followed by infants. Donating a medical van helped us understand the medical challenges faced by the elderly especially in the slum areas of India. This van is used in specific locations to ensure timely medical care to the marginalized. While it gave us a slight sense of satisfaction that we could contribute in a little way in supporting the elderly, it also helped us realise that much investment in terms of varied resources is the need of the hour for this section of the society. This would also help us deepen our resolve towards fulfilling our social responsibility."
Anita D’souza, India First