Mohini Daljeet Singh, Chief Executive, Max India Foundation
For India to count itself as a progressive nation, access to quality healthcare for all sections of the society is a vital requirement. The government has sharpened its focus on public healthcare, which is evident from the increase in the healthcare allocations in the last union budget as well as from the launch of its flagship healthcare scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), also known as Ayushman Bharat. However, India’s health needs are so enormous that they need support from other institutions such as NGOs, charities, corporates and so on. To aid this cause, Max India Foundation (MIF), the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of the Max Group, has undertaken a series of successful healthcare and immunisation initiatives over the last 11 years. MIF’s healthcare activities, in collaboration with 457 NGOs across 837 locations, have touched 34,41,689 individual beneficiaries until March 31, 2019.
MIF’s journey has been characterised by the ethos of Sevabhav and Giving with Dignity to make a difference to the lives of the underprivileged. The Foundation has adopted a holistic solution model that hinges on four key pillars.
In FY2019, 45,282 individuals including women and children, benefitted from MIF’s awareness programs on issues such as menstrual hygiene, hand washing, healthy eating, health and hygiene, dengue, vector-borne diseases, cancer and tobacco-related diseases
Awards & Accolades
PILLAR 1 PROVIDING QUALITY HEALTHCARE
Health needs are often immediate, yet there is a huge gap in accessibility and affordability for the underprivileged. Over the years, MIF has perfected various health interventions, which have been strategically designed with a blend of curative, preventive and promotive aspects to support the underprivileged sections of the society.
This programme is meant for children in the age group 0-12 years who are ‘Not Immunised’ or are ‘Partially Immunised’. Children are vaccinated against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus (DPT), Hepatitis-B and Typhoid as per the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Through its pan-India immunisation programme, MIF has administered 17,265 immunisation shots against nine diseases through 130 camps in five states across India.
Often, underprivileged people ignore niggling symptoms of ill health due to reasons such as losing a day’s wage, travelling long distances or lack of funds for even a basic consultation. Women and the elderly are the worst affected.
MIF organises general and multi-speciality health camps for the underprivileged across urban slums and rural areas with the objective of providing quality healthcare in an accessible and affordable manner. A team of qualified doctors and paramedical staff conducts these camps where free consultations and medicines are provided. So far, 1,58,700 patients have been treated through 743 such camps across India.
Kids learn the importance of dental hygiene with MIF’s awareness programs and health check-up camps
Surgeries and Treatment
Escalating expenses make it impossible for the underprivileged to undergo expensive surgeries. MIF helps them get a new lease of life by supporting 1,300 high-end surgeries, such as pediatric, cardiac, brain tumour, reconstructive, neuro, orthopedic and cataract, besides oncology care and renal transplants. This has helped beneficiaries lead comfortable and healthier lives with quality medical support, thus preventing further poverty.
Six months after Alka was born, her father, a low-income farmer from Bihar, detected a lump in her hand. Alarmed, he rushed her to a local doctor who prescribed a homeopathic treatment. When this didn’t work, Alka’s family tried allopathic medicines but to no avail. Finally, when Alka was rushed to a health camp in Nalanda, a tumor was confirmed. The infant was taken to AIIMS Patna where she underwent surgery on December 17, 2018. Because of her tender age, chemotherapy and radiation were ruled out and post-surgery, the lump returned. Determined to get rid of the tumor, the father cobbled all his resources and approached MIF through Cankids, a non-profit organisation dedicated to treatment and care for children with cancer in India. MIF facilitated the surgery and today, Alka is tumour free.
Little Alka gets a renewed lease on life through a surgery facilitated by MIF
In pursuit of providing quality healthcare to the underprivileged, MIF has set up health centres in Uttarakhand and Punjab in partnership with like-minded NGOs. Approximately 11,138 patients have been treated so far at these health centres this year.
Provision of Free Artificial Limbs and Polio Callipers to the Needy
The Artificial Limbs & Polio Callipers (ALC) camps aim to improve the mobility of physically challenged individuals. This enhances their self-confidence and has a positive impact on their economic well-being, thereby enabling them to live their lives with dignity.
Through this year’s ALC camp organised by MIF at Ropar in Punjab, 162 underprivileged patients received prosthetic limbs and free treatment. This camp was organised in collaboration with the NGO Manav Seva Sannidhi. So far, MIF has provided 5,588 deprived patients with artificial limbs and polio callipers, thus transforming their lives.
For Para Commando Havaldar Hans Raj of Samba, Jammu, the journey to Ropar was one of hope and healing. This brave soldier lost his leg during an army operation in Sri Lanka 22 years ago. Though the Army had provided an artificial limb, it had been giving Hans Raj trouble. When he heard about MIF’s Camp in Ropar, he decided to undertake this life-transforming journey. Recalling the landmine blast incident that rendered him physically challenged, Havaldar Hans Raj said, “I’m proud to have served the nation as a soldier. The Army took care of all my financial and physical needs, but over time, I realised that I needed to replace my artificial limb. Today, I’m glad I decided to make this journey because I am now pain free and as independent as before. It is the efforts of camps like these that make you proud to be a part of this country.”
MIF’s Artificial Limbs & Polio Callipers camp in Ropar, Punjab helped 162 patients receive prosthetic limbs
PILLAR 2 CREATING AWARENESS ON HEALTH AND HYGIENE
General Health Awareness
MIF believes that awareness is the first step towards achieving wellness and good health, which yields better outcomes while saving huge expenses on treatment. Hence, health awareness has formed an integral part of MIF’s work on Preventive Healthcare. MIF has been proactively running awareness programmes in different areas. In the last financial year, 45,282 beneficiaries, including women and children, benefitted from awareness on issues such as menstrual hygiene, hand washing, healthy eating, health and hygiene, dengue, vector-borne diseases, cancer and tobacco-related diseases. These are effectively addressed through multiple infotainment approaches such as films, flip books, talks, demonstrations, puppet shows, etc.
Conducting Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns
Aimed at fostering a spirit of courage, grit and determination, MIF and Diva restaurants, Delhi, partnered for a month-long ‘Celebrate Me’ campaign. This campaign highlighted the courage of women who fought the dreaded disease of cancer and emerged victorious. It stressed the importance of timely treatment and preventive measures against the disease.
Walking/Running for Good Health
MIF collaborated with CanSupport to bat for cancer survivors and spread awareness via ‘Walk for Life’ in February 2019 at Janpath, New Delhi. In the same month, MIF also sponsored Ropar Half Marathon in Punjab. Centenarian marathon runner Mr. Fauja Singh graced the occasion with his presence and encourage the participants to exercise for good health.
MIF Scores High with Anti-tobacco Campaign
MIF, together with Sambandh Health Foundation and Delhi Police, worked towards building awareness on the perils of tobacco and strived to end the tobacco menace. MIF’s anti-tobacco display boards were put up at New Delhi Railway Station last December to alert the masses.
The Impact so far in Delhi NCR
PILLAR 3 PROMOTING A SUSTAINABLE AND ECO-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT
Good environment is a prerequisite for good health. MIF has been spearheading structured monthly awareness campaigns, which serve the dual purpose of sensitising people about the issue as well as suggesting various practical action points to improve the environment. Environment tips are shared with key stakeholders including NGO partners as well as employees of the Max Group. The objective is to increase awareness on improving green cover, enhancing oxygen supply as well as arresting soil erosion, thereby leaving a greener planet for future generations.
Drug De-addiction Initiative
It is estimated that around 7.21 crore people in India are affected by drugs. Drug abuse is emerging as a major health hazard, with a sizeable number of youth caught in this menace. MIF has been supporting a drug de-addiction counselling centre for the youth of Baramulla in Jammu & Kashmir since April 2016. Started and anchored by the Indian Army, MIF organises seminars, recreational activities, individual and group counselling sessions, motivational talks and occupational rehabilitation. In FY2019, the drug de-addiction programme benefitted 938 youth.
India is home to over one-third of the world’s stunted children. Some of the partners MIF works with are engaged with malnourished children for whom getting two meals a day is a huge struggle. The mid-day meal or nutritious snack offered through MIF’s support may be the only wholesome meal of the day for them. The Foundation made over 283 meals possible in FY2019.
Sanitisation Drive in Noida
As part of MIF's initiative to usher good health and sanitisation, a sanitisation drive was initiated across a slum in Sector 16 Noida. The following actions were undertaken:
Tree Plantation Drive in Delhi-NCR
2,256 saplings were planted by MIF in the Delhi-NCR region to create a more pollution-free and sustainable environment.
PILLAR 4 ADOPTING VILLAGES
MIF has adopted three villages – Rail Majra in Punjab, and Dhakrani and Purukul in Dehradun district, Uttarakhand. The Village Adoption Programme aims at creating model villages to enhance the quality of life of the underprivileged in the area.
Due to inadequate health facilities in these villages, appropriate interventions in the form of health camps, health centres, eye check-ups and immunisation camps were provided at regular intervals. The range of health services helps villagers avail quality services from specialists, otherwise beyond their reach. MIF’s nine multi-speciality health camps impacted 2,394 beneficiaries. MIF also donated 350 blankets to underprivileged beneficiaries in the presence of local Panchayat.
Environment Conservation and Preservation
MIF has been sensitising villagers about environment conservation and preservation. Tree plantation drives are almost an annual affair across all three villages. In particular, MIF has planted 2,500 fruit saplings of Mango, Lychee, Guava, Banana, etc. in the Dhakrani village with the help of the NGO Sustainable Green Initiative. The fruit trees planted will be nurtured and maintained by the residents themselves.
Hygiene Improvement through Solid Waste Management
Waste management continues to be an issue of serious concern. MIF initiated activities for the solid waste management system by implementing clean-up drives, awareness programmes and a solid waste collection and disposal system. The villagers were regularly sensitised on the importance of cleanliness and segregation of waste. As part of this project, a composting unit was set up in Dhakrani with 8,000 kg of compost produced this year. Segregation of waste was done to ensure that the organic waste does not end up in landfills but can be composted and used by farmers in the village.
Additionally, 97 bi-weekly health camps for women and children with the NGO Bella Healthcare were conducted, which helped 5,478 beneficiaries.
Financial Education and Volunteer Activity
Under the village adoption project, Max Life Insurance employees and agent advisors visited 900 households at the Dhakrani village, re-iterating the benefits of health, hygiene, waste management and sanitation, while introducing the residents to financial literacy. Further, the importance of ‘Swacch Raho, Swasth Raho’ was highlighted during these visits.
Sanitary Pad Production Unit for local women
With the objective of promoting menstrual health and hygiene among women from poor/marginal economic backgrounds, MIF set up a sanitary napkin manufacturing unit for the local women in Dhakrani by donating relevant machinery and materials required. The unit made it easy and convenient for women to access hygienically produced pads. Manufactured by women and for women, these sanitary pads are low cost and easily available. So far, 45,000 sanitary napkins have been produced by the unit.
Sanitation and Sewage Project
The Dhakrani village had no sewage system in place. Wastewater spilled onto the garbage spread on streets and polluted the sources of drinking water supply. To address the issue, a Sewage Treatment Project is underway. Around 1,30,000 ft of pipeline has been laid. Sand filters and septic tanks are being built from which waste water will be treated to be fit for agricultural purpose. Four phases of this project have been completed. In phase five of this project, bio-digester technology tanks are being connected to 400 households.
Skill Development for the Youth
MIF has set up a Life Skills Training Centre at Dhakrani in partnership with the NGO Head Held High (HHH) Foundation. The initiative provides life skills training to rural school dropouts through a six-month intensive programme. Besides basic English speaking, Math and Computer skills, the local youth are trained in social and soft skills. Their confidence is further boosted with a concurrent personality development course. With the third batch of 22 youth completing this course by June 2019, MIF has successfully trained 74 youngsters as a part of this initiative.
Purukul Village Adoption
Four multi-speciality health camps were held at Purukul Gram Sabha with Max Super Speciality Hospital, Dehradun. Max Hospital doctors, marketing and nursing staff helped 265 patients at the camps.
A cleaning vehicle continues to be operational in Purukul Gramsabha, along with cleaning staff who work daily to keep the streets and area clean.
MIF also provides food and nutrition support to students of Purukul Youth Development Society (PYDS), an English-medium day school for underprivileged children. This has helped students get a balanced diet and stay healthy and active.
Rail Majra Village Adoption
As part of its healthcare initiatives, MIF founded the Health Centre at village Rail Majra near the Max Speciality Films factory in Punjab in 2008. This is the oldest and the first health centre that caters to the medical needs of the villagers of Rail Majra and surrounding villages. Through this initiative, MIF has been able to provide access to quality healthcare to 5,280 beneficiaries. In addition, MIF organised multi-speciality health camps, which impacted 1,048 beneficiaries.
The bane of drug abuse in Punjab, with over 2.3 lakh drug users, has acquired the proportion of a pestilence that has shaken the state. To address this critical issue, MIF, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), organised a drug de-addiction awareness drive in Rail Majra in August 2018. Dr. Rekha Gupta and Dr. SMS Sidhu conducted the session on drug abuse for school children, factory workers, antenatal mothers and general population to sensitise them to this issue and its preventive measures.
An interactive science lab was set up for students of the Rail Majra Government School. The first batch of 12th class students passed with flying colours, with girls topping the class. As a token of encouragement, the Top 4 girl students were rewarded by MIF.
MIF, with its 360-degree approach towards holistic healthcare, has been able to make a genuine difference in the lives of the underprivileged. The decade-long interventions on ground have been successful in addressing key challenges of low-quality care, lack of health awareness and limited access to health facilities. Further, the focus on health awareness has significantly helped in inculcating behavioural change in the beneficiaries, who are now adopting healthy practices to safeguard their health. Today, MIF has been able to win the trust and confidence of the community and bring smiles on their faces. In its own small way, MIF has been able to make a humble contribution towards nation building through a healthier population.