Medical Van, Wellness Camps: Lodha Ventures Foundation’s Gift of Health to Dapoli
“Finding health centres in this area in cases of emergency is very difficult. My grandson had prolonged stomach pains and we tried all home remedies but nothing was helping. He used to cry in the nights and we were helpless,” said Priya Pradip Bhatkar, a 61-year-old daily-wage worker from Kolthare in Dapoli, Maharashtra.
“Doctors from the medical van helped us identify that it was due to stomach worms and they treated him. They also told us what hygiene practices to follow so that a situation like this doesn’t arise again,” she added.
Konkan, a 720-kilometre coastline on the western coast, has been recently attracting global investments due to the vast development plans being introduced by the Maharashtra Government. However, development in terms of maintaining the health and wellness of the communities residing in the region still needs progress. This encouraged the Lodha Ventures Foundation to provide free healthcare facilities for underprivileged rural communities near Dapoli.
To tackle the lack of basic medical amenities in the nearby communities, Ms. Sheetal Lodha-led Lodha Ventures Foundation launched a fully-equipped Mobile Medical Unit in September 2022. The van, manned by two medical staff and a support staff, tours 22 surrounding villages providing basic medical services to the needy, while also working with local health centres and gram panchayats. The Foundation, now, aims to reach out to and help over 20,000 residents of these villages.
The medical team also conducts regular health camps and awareness sessions around nutrition for adults for a more proactive approach towards health. To date, 12 such sessions have been conducted where experts have counselled over 400 needy families.
“After the phenomenal response to our Isle of Bliss project by The House of Abhinandan Lodha in Dapoli, we couldn’t turn a blind eye to the lack of basic medical facilities in the area. It is our collective responsibility to take care of the environment as well as the health and well-being of people residing around our project site. At Lodha Ventures, we’ve always believed in giving back to society as much as we take from it and this was the idea behind launching the mobile medical unit. We believe that healthcare should be free and accessible to people and we aim to help many more villagers through our initiatives,” said Sheetal Lodha, Founder, Lodha Ventures Foundation.
While maintaining the health and wellness of adults is important, it is imperative that a special focus be put on the growth of children in the region. This was the thought of 13-year-old Yashvi Lodha.
From an early age, Yashvi has had a strong affinity towards serving her country in every capacity that she can. Aside from her many social contributions, Yashvi believes that the health of children and teenagers can decide the future of India. With this thought and keeping in mind that Maharashtra has the highest incidence of malnutrition among Indian states, the Foundation has been conducting free health camps at schools in Dapoli.
At these camps, school children receive necessary information on preventative and diagnostic care in a convenient and accessible setting. These camps helped identify and treat health issues early on and even prevented unforeseen serious outcomes. The camps also educated children and their families about making healthy lifestyle choices and disease prevention.
Prashant Jayram Mayekar, 51, a resident of Padale, Dapoli expressed joy while explaining how his nephew taught him about the side-effects of not eating a balanced diet.
“My nephew is very observant. He saw that due to odd working hours I was skipping meals and he told me that he learnt it at his school how important it was to have a balanced diet and three meals a day to maintain our health and wellness. I am grateful to Lodha Ventures Foundation for conducting these sessions for our children,” he added.
Additionally, health camps can help ensure that all children have access to healthcare, regardless of their socio-economic status or access to healthcare services in their community. So far, The Lodha Ventures Foundation has conducted nine such camps since the start of the project in October and directly screened over 303 children for any health issues.
“Our children are the future of this country. It is crucial that their health and well-being become our first priority. Children in rural areas don’t have enough exposure to affordable and accessible healthcare services, which is why we decided to conduct health camps for them in schools at Dapoli to promote healthy lifestyle practices such as washing hands the right way. We also make sure that there we are able to identify if they’ve any underlying health issues and treat them before they become serious ailments,” added Ms. Sheetal Lodha.