GMRVF works to make quality healthcare accessible to its communities. Towards this, it creates healthcare facilities and also works at community level for improved health. With the conviction that preventive healthcare is key to good health, it stresses on health education and awareness.
Contributing to the Swachh Bharat Mission of the Government through supporting community, individual and institutional sanitation facilities is another thrust.
Many communities with whom the Foundation is working, do not have access to health clinics or hospitals near their homes. Moreover, poor economic conditions coupled with inadequate awareness on healthcare often prevent them from going out of their village to seek medical treatment in time. In many situations, this has led to serious consequences.
With a belief that good health is integral to good quality of life, GMRVF strives to make both preventive and curative health care accessible to its communities.
GMRVF runs mobile Medical Units dedicated to taking healthcare to the doorsteps of the elderly and vulnerable. The units provide free medical check-ups and medicines. These medical units cover over 100 villages with weekly services. Medical clinics are also run in areas where primary healthcare services are not accessible.
General and specific medical camps are organized regularly in all the Foundation’s work areas.
For people in remote areas, ambulance facilities are made available for emergencies.
The Foundation also focusses on initiatives to promote maternal and child health.
Sanitation is a priority with the Foundation, and it not only runs community/public toilets, but also supports Individual toilets, School toilets, etc.
21 year old Nittu Devi hails from the village of Guwad, Himachal Pradesh, where GMR Group’s Bajoli-Holi Hydro Power Project is located. She and her four younger sisters were raised by their father who took over household responsibilities upon the untimely death of their mother. He worked hard as a salesman in order to provide quality education for his daughters.
Despite facing many hardships, Nittu managed to complete her schooling, but was unable to pursue further studies due to the family’s financial situation. It was during this period that GMR Varalakshmi Foundation (GMRVF) developed a program to support the higher education of girls from low income families in the area, through Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). In consultation with community leaders, Nittu was identified as one among 5 eligible beneficiaries for B.A degree. The GMRVF team ensured her timely enrolment with IGNOU and supported her course fees. Nittu was thrilled to have been selected in the program and eagerly looked forward to studying again.
A few months ago, she also found a job as an instructor in a local coaching institute. Every evening, around 12 primary school children are tutored by her in an array of different subjects. Nittu says the experience has helped her realize she would like to become a teacher someday. She is proud to be the only woman in her village who is studying and working simultaneously. She has emerged as a ray of hope and role model for girls on how to overcome difficult circumstances and move forward in life.
Krishna (name changed), a HIV infected semi-orphan boy, hails from a small village near GMR Kakinada Special Economic Zone. His father died with AIDS and his mother, who is also HIV positive, is dependent on her parents. Due to less immunity, she frequently falls sick and is unable to go for any work. The ill health in the family severely affected their economic condition, and Krishna had to drop out of education after Std. III.
During a field visit, GMRVF staff learnt about Krishna’s family and about his medical condition. He was a shy child who secluded himself from the outside world. Added to this, his grandparents were unable to provide him with nutritious meals due to their insufficient income.
GMRVF identified Krishna among 40 other under-privileged children living with HIV in that area. In order to build their immunity, the Foundation began to provide them a nutritious kit on a monthly basis. The kit includes 5 kgs of rice, 1 kg of wheat, jiggery, dal, ragi powder, black gram, groundnuts and dates. GMRVF colleagues also monitor their intake of medicines and their CD4 count (CD4 count is a means of measuring the functioning of immune system).
GMRVF staff also counselled him on the importance of completing his education and fulfilling his dreams. He then re-enrolled in a nearby government school and slowly began showing interest in academics. In March 2019, Krishna passed his Std. X with 8.2 CGPA with academic support being provided by the Foundation.
Krishna is now enrolled in Intermediate with Biology, Physics and Chemistry as the main subjects and aspires to invent a medicine for the deadly disease of HIV/AIDS in future.
For the past 2 years of her life, 60 year old Rita (name changed) has been fighting breast cancer. When she was first diagnosed in 2017, she was terrified of the consequences of the illness. However, her family rallied around her and comforted her through the entire process. A couple of months into her treatment, Rita was left physically and emotionally weak.
It was during this time that her family heard about the services offered by CanSupport NGO (Non-Govt. Organization) and got in touch with them. CanSupport in partnership with Delhi International Airport Ltd. - CSR (DIAL-CSR), provides a wide-range of free services to help destitute cancer patients throughout their cancer journey - right from diagnosis, curative therapies, to bereavement and rehabilitative support to the families of cancer patients.
A team from CanSupport started weekly visits to Rita’s house. They provide counselling to Rita and her family members. They also provided free medication to help ease Rita’s pain. The team has built a strong relationship with the family and have become an integral part of Rita’s weekly routine.
She is now more optimistic about her future and no longer feels like she is battling a lone war. Rita and her family remain positive and are confident that she will cross this hurdle and will once again be able to live a normal life.
70 year old Jonda Ram, hails from the tribal village of Togi in Chamba District, Himachal Pradesh.
In the last few years, Jonda Ram was suffering from extreme fatigue, increased thirst and frequent urination. Family members also noted that small wounds on his body were taking a long time to heal.
Owing to the remoteness of his village, age and financial constraints, he was unable to travel to the closest hospital. Unaware that he was suffering from Diabetes, Jonda resorted to visiting traditional healers who recommended random medicines for his symptoms. Despite adhering to the instructions of the healer, his symptoms developed rapidly and his health deteriorated.
Discussing his health with a friend, he learned that the GMR Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) visited his village once a month. The MMU is a clinic on wheels that provides primary health care services for population living in remote, inaccessible, un-served, and underserved areas with the objective of taking health care service to doorsteps of the people. An MMU is staffed by a Doctor, a Pharmacist and a driver. Often there is also a Social Worker/health worker to assist team.
The following month, Jonda promptly attended the health camp conducted by the MMU, where the medical team diagnosed his condition as diabetes mellitus. Testing showed that his sugar level was 380 mg/dl, which was way higher than the normal level of 200 mg/dl.
Jonda and his family were overwhelmed by the diagnosis, but were given counselling and awareness on the subject. He was given free medicines for his diabetes and his family members were advised to monitor his diet.
His free treatment continued, and three months later, his blood sugar level had dropped to 180 mg/dl. The results cheered Jonda who was grateful for the support he received from the GMR MMU medical team.
Motherhood is one of the most exciting phases in a woman’s life. But for Sonam Rahul Muktewar, aged 20, who lives in Chinora village in Warora block of Maharashtra, it is the most anxious period since an abortion earlier had left her anemic and with many lingering doubts about her pregnancy. She and her husband are agriculture laborers. When she conceived for the second time, she enrolled herself in the Nutrition Centre run by Foundation in her village. GMRVF provided her nutrition support, regular health check-ups and above all, cleared all her misconceptions about pregnancy.
The health volunteer at the Center informed her about the importance of institutional delivery and early initiation of breastfeeding etc. As per the delivery plan suggested by the Center, Sonam was admitted into Govt. hospital by her husband well before the expected date of delivery and Sonam had a normal delivery and the girl child weighed 3.4 Kg. Sonam initiated Colostrum feeding to her baby and followed the vaccination schedule suggested by the Center.
Now, both Sonam and her child are very healthy and Sonam thanks GMRVF for all the guidance and support!
Gulla Appayamma lives in A.V Nagaram in East Godavari District, not far from the GMR Kakinada Special Economic Zone. Widowed at a young age, she lives with her four children and their families. The family found open defecation a humiliating experience. The women members also constantly feared being bitten by snakes, poisonous insects and facing harassment from men. But they were unable to build a toilet due to the meagre wages they earned.
On observing that all 168 families in the village faced the same problem, GMRVF decided to do something about this. They first conducted a series of awareness programs on personal health and hygiene. They educated community members on how defecating in the open can cause diarrhoea and other infections. GMRVF did not stop here. They approached the Mandal Parishad Development Officer and successfully facilitated the Swachh Bharat Mission Scheme which resulted in the construction of 168 individual sanitary latrines. GMRVF added to the government support by sponsoring iron doors for all the toilets.
Gulla Appayamma is now a very happy woman since her family members and friends all have toilets right next to their house. She says the initiative by GMRVF has also motivated panchayat leaders from nearby villages to utilise the Swachh Bharat Mission Scheme and make their respective villages ‘Open Defecation Free’.