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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Arvind Khanna's Umeed fails to resume healthcare services after Lok Sabha polls

Neeraj Mohan, Hindustan Times  Sangrur , August 01, 2014
First Published: 20:57 IST(1/8/2014) | Last Updated: 20:59 IST(1/8/2014)

 
Umeed, a non-government organisation (NGO) of the Khanna Foundation, has reportedly suspended the 'healthcare at the doorstep' services amid reports that the owner of the foundation and former Congress MLA from Dhuri assembly segment was planning to distance himself from active politics.

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Khanna had resigned two days before the Lok Sabha election results as Congress MLA without citing any reason.
The suspension of medical services has spread a fear of losing jobs among nearly a hundred employees working in the Umeed's office here.
According to sources, after the imposition of the model code of conduct in March this year, the Umeed had stopped its umbrella campaign 'healthcare at the doorstep' under which six medical vans, each having a team of three doctors, including one MBBS, used to cover 18 villages everyday to provide health care to patients in the rural and backward areas of Sangrur and Dhuri areas. But, operations have not been resumed even more than two months after the declaration of Lok Sabha results.

Sources also disclosed that the Umeed had also sacked doctors and drivers of the vans.
When contacted, a doctor, who used to work with the Umeed, on the condition of anonymity, said, "medical services of the Umeed have been suspended for a couple of months and they had also sacked staff members, without giving any reason. Now, all the medical vans are standing idle in the Umeed office"

Arvind Khanna refused to admit that healthcare services have been suspended saying, "Though, we have a shortage of doctors, yet we are still providing healthcare services in some villages. But, we are planning to appoint more doctors and gynaecologists to provide better health services to women."

He, however, did not tell the deadline by which healthcare services will be resumed.

As per the Umeed's website, the Umeed's umbrella campaign "health at the doorstep" includes a team of doctors and nurses who reach out to the poor with free consultation, medicines, palliative care and referrals to primary and secondary healthcare services. Each of these camps is held in a cluster of 20 villages, treating approximately 1,000 patients in Sangrur and Dhuri areas. On an average, 23,375 patients were treated every month and the programme has served 4.8 million people from over 500 villages and slums in Dhuri and Sangrur since 1997, claimed the website.

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