The Lifeline Express has recently completed 25 years of providing free healthcare to the poor population.
25 years ago, on 16 July 1991, The Lifeline Express was started to provide healthcare services in rural India and for the underprivileged masses. It was world’s first hospital train and is being run by the Impact India Foundation. Developed in collaboration with the Indian Railways and Health Ministry, it is being funded by Impact UK, international charitable sources, Indian corporate houses, and individuals. It leaves Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus every August to provide medical assistance.
The service it provides
The Lifeline Express provides services in rural parts and conducts camping in different parts of the country. The camps last for 21-35 days, during which the doctors provide treatment to patients, and training and awareness programmes for the rural population and local doctors. Till now it has carried out 173 projects in various states and has medically served 10 lakh poor in rural India.
The challenges it faces
Lack of blood bank is restricting the doctors who are part of it from doing major surgeries. The train also needs post-operative care facilities; it has been limited to surgeries for cataract and clubfoot. The major concern is the lack of doctors. From the time it started, the number of doctors volunteering has remained the same throughout.