Lifeline Express gets honour stamp
The Lifeline Express, hospital on wheels, which has cured many disabled as it chugged to various locations in India, will now travel across the world riding on the corner of envelopes with the launch of a national postage stamp in its honour.india Updated: May 13, 2009 12:44 IST
The Lifeline Express, hospital on wheels, which has cured many disabled as it chugged to various locations in India, will now travel across the world riding on the corner of envelopes with the launch of a national postage stamp in its honour.
The train, run by NGO Impact India, started with just three discarded wooden coaches but has now evolved into a state-of-the-art facility with two air-conditioned operation theatres. The national stamp, which depicts the train steaming off into a rainbow, was released by Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir along with A H Tobaccowala, the head of Impact India.
The train has seen over 80,000 surgeons, anesthetists, nurses and volunteers work on it over the last 18 years to treat more than five lakh patients. "The train has been to almost all corners of the country without any incident. We have been to varied places, including Naxal-hit areas where we have always been welcomed," Randhir Vishwen, Chief Executive of the train, said.
The NGO draws on doctors from across the country to perform around ten "projects" by setting up camps on location, he said.
The surgeons, mostly volunteers from medical colleges, treat patients suffering from disabilities like polio, eye disorders and cleft lips for free."We travel with about 12 doctors, including anesthetists and usually attract people from villages, some as far away as 300 km from the place where the train is parked," Vishwen said.
The train, which has also been the subject of a BBC film by filmmaker Gerry Troyna, is presently in Jabalpur where a medical camp is being run. Speaking at the release of the stamp last evening, Impact India's Tobaccowala was all praise for the volunteers who had worked on the train despite being provided with modest accommodation on sites.
"I can never adequately express my pride and appreciation that so many of our country's professionals were willing to do so much for so many of our countrymen without any fee," he said.
The NGO has now set its sights on improving the conditions of tribals living in neighbouring Thane district by introducing preventive and corrective measures to reduce health problems in the area, he said.
"While the Government of India has introduced many outstanding schemes, their implementation at ground level is disgracefully slow and a significant part of the allocated fund remain unutilised," Tobaccowala said.
First Published: May 13, 2009 12:25 IST