If you have ever been to the remote parts of India, one thing that you will notice apart from the rocky roads is the absence of a hospital or at times any medical clinic for that matter. And even if there are some healthcare services available, they are not equipped enough to provide high-quality medical care to the locals. All the while, poor quality healthcare or insufficient access to medical professionals leads to a growing number of deaths in the country.
Taking cognisance of rural India’s dire need of quality healthcare services, the Indian Railways launched a hospital on wheels– the Lifeline Express on July 1991. The train that had set off from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus has travelled across India and reportedly culminated a successful first run. It is now set to embark on its next trip.
Chugging across the villages of India that are devoid of medical services, the Lifeline Express has been treating people in the remotest parts of rural India, free of cost.
India’s first hospital on wheels launched in partnership with NGO Impact India Foundation and Ministry of Health arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in Mumbai yesterday.
Mumbai: LifeLine Express, India's first hospital train, arrived at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus yesterday & was inaugurated for its new set of trips. Lifeline Express has provided medical treatment to around 12 lakh patients in remote locations across the nation till now pic.twitter.com/pJdFhmrYMG
— ANI (@ANI) August 29, 2019
The train that initially had just three discarded wooden coaches is now equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. Each coach of the seven-coach train is air-conditioned and has one surgical operation theatre with three operating tables. It also houses a sterilizing room, several patient wards, on-board power generators, a pantry car, storage for medical supplies, and accommodation for medical staff.
Reportedly, the Lifeline Express has travelled across 19 states of India and has covered 201 rural locations in 138 districts. It has provided medical treatment to 12.32 lakh patients including 1.46 lakh cases of surgery.
This includes treatment such as Restored Mobility, Vision, Hearing, Correction of facial deformities, treatment for Epilepsy, Dental problems, Cancer and many more, all free of cost.
On July 21th, Sinopec Brightness Lifeline Express has arrived Changzhi and it would bring free surgeries for 1000 poor cataract patients there. Our train-hospital has helped more than 200,000 cataract sufferers recover their sight since it was put into service 20 years ago. pic.twitter.com/fhuwdMVHMf
— Sinopec (@SinopecNews) July 22, 2019
The train was inaugurated for its new set of trips by Dr R Badri Narayan, Additional General Manager, Central Railway at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and will now be moving to Sahibganj for its next project.
Kudos Indian Railways for setting up the hospital on wheels.
Cover image: source