Accessing Health Care on Three Wheels

Taking forward the issues raised by IFRTD's Mobility and Health programme, a project has been launched to address the problems rural women face accessing health care services in Rajasthan, India.   The Rickshaw Project, initiated by the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani and SOHARD, a Neemrana based NGO, aims to provide an easily accessible and affordable round-the-clock transport facility for medical help at the village level.  The project has been supported via IFRTD with funds raised by the Women in Transport Seminar London (WTS).   

With an investment of Rs 161300 (USD 3,450) the project has purchased an APE DAC model auto rickshaw. A monitoring team has been established which has appointed a driver for the vehicle, and a cluster of five beneficiary villages with a total population of 15000 have been identified: Dabarbas, Dhani Dabarbas, Anandpur, Dhikvad, and Khund Road. The auto rickshaw and the driver are located at the SOHARD headquarter in a centrally located village. The contact number of the driver is written on the auto rickshaw and has been made known to the villagers through the elective representatives of these villages. Any person from these villages can contact the driver to take a patient to the nearest health care center at a minimum charge established in consultation with the village representatives. Anyone living below the poverty line is provided with the service free of charge. A representative from SOHARD monitors the daily functioning of the project which is quarterly reviewed by the monitoring team.

More than 30 elected representatives of the village Panchayats (sarpanches and panches), mostly women, attended the launching ceremony of the project on the 4th July 2010 in Anandpur village. Shree Niranjan Sharma, Director, SOHARD threw light on the objectives and importance of the project and thanked BITS, Pilani, WTS and IFRTD for the initiative and for giving SOHARD the opportunity to collaborate on the project. Dr. Sanjiv kumar Choudhary, the Coordinator of the project talked about the importance of this new transport facility for the villages. He noted the medical benefits and urged the gathered audience to use the rickshaw to ensure that no more deaths occurred through avoidable delays to health care services.  He also remarked that the success of this project could ensure the extension of such a facility to more villages. Prof. A. K. Sarkar, the guiding force behind the project, spoke about the background of this project and hoped that this facility would be of immense help to the villagers, particularly women who suffer more because of the lack of proper transport facility at the time of medical needs. 

For more information about this project please contact:

Dr Sanjiv Kumar Choudhary
Project Coordinator
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