‘KHUSHI CLINIC’ which aims at treating truck drivers and cleaners suffering from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) was inaugurated on Dewas Road opposite Lasudia police station on Monday evening.
The clinic is an initiative of the Transport Corporation of India’s (TCI) ‘Project Kavach’, which is being implemented by an NGO Bharteeya Gramin Mahila Sangh in Indore. TCI has a tie-up with J K Tyres to run similar projects and clinics in other parts of the country as well.
“Under ‘Project Kavach’, we already had mobile units for the last 2 years which catered to the health needs of truck drivers and cleaners, but we had no resources to set up a permanent clinic then. Now with J K Tyres and TCI coming forward, we have set up this clinic,” according to Subodh Karnik, project coordinator from Bharatiya Gramin Mahila Sangh.
The clinic, which will open for a few hours once a week initially, will soon be attending patients from 10 am to 6 pm everyday. The staff at the clinic comprises a doctor, a nurse and a counsellor, apart from four educators-cum-social workers.
“If need be, we will also have patients coming to mobile units,” he said adding, that the mobile units have already treated about 3,000 truckers suffering from sexually transmitted infections and more than 8,000 general patients.
“We also aim to sensitise transporters and drivers about sexually transmitted infections and diseases, including HIV/AIDS,” he said.
The NGO had earlier conducted a 45-day field and in-house training camp on IPC (inter-personal communication) tools for 30 truck drivers, he said. “This will go a long way in spreading awareness among truck drivers and cleaners,” Karnik added.
J K Tyres Senior Service Engineer Ashish Mukhopadhyay said, “We already have a rapport with transporters for more than two decades. So, it definitely makes a difference when our name is associated with a welfare project for the truckers.”
“Taking advantage of this goodwill, we decided to lend our name and support to this project, which will increase awareness about the STIs,” he said.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has chosen TCI, which has a network of 2000 branches across the country, for carrying out HIV/AIDS related awareness and treatment project exclusively for truck drivers.