Mobile dispensary units help with screening in infected zones

Force Motors Mobile Dispensary

A mobile dispensary facility, run by city-based non-profit organisation Bhartiya Jain Sanghatan (BJS) in association with automotive company Force Motors, is conducting COVID-19 testing in ‘highly-infected’ zones in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

The mobile doorstep dispensary, called Doctor Aplya Daari, began on April 1 and has screened more than 72,000 people till date. It has referred 1,057 cases to hospitals in the two zones for treatment.

“A total of 50 mobile dispensary vans equipped with doctors, support staff and medicines are concentrating on the economically weaker localities in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. At least 46 of these vans are serving as roving dispensaries within Pune city to test people in the highly-infected wards,” said Shantilal Mutha, founder, BJS.

Given that most people living in these localities could not afford to go to dispensaries, a loudspeaker in each mobile unit moving through the ‘red zones’ of the city would announce their arrival, Mr. Mutha said.

“Typically, there is a pervasive fear among these sections ever since the spread of the contagion. In many cases, people suppress their ailments and do not come forward to get themselves tested. Through this initiative, we are trying to reduce the load on the overstretched municipal healthcare staff and defuse the fear among the populace in these zones by enabling early detection,” he said.

Since the beginning of this month, around 65,000 people had been screened in Pune city, of whom 1,021 had been referred to hospitals, Mr. Mutha said. The organisation is operating similar mobile units in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The mobile units can check 2,500 people daily and can examine symptoms of an average of 500 patients each day.

“Doctors in the vans monitor patients for cold and flu conditions besides informing them about preventive measures to be taken against the novel coronavirus,” said Prasan Firodia, managing director, Force Motors.

The Dr. Abhay Firodia Group has also earmarked ₹25 crore to support COVID-19 relief activities, aimed at supporting upgrade of healthcare infrastructure, enhancing blood collection capability, facilitating mobile clinic and testing capabilities, and providing food to the needy, he said.

With 84 vans acting as mobile units operating in other districts of Maharashtra as well as neighbouring States, 1,11,679 residents have been screened till date, of whom 1,070 suspected COVID-19 cases have been referred to government hospitals across Maharashtra.

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