With over 70% of the population living in rural areas in communities lacking the most basic facilities healthcare facilities are scarce. However, India has over 65,000 miles of railtracks and so back in 1991, India Rail backed an initiative called Lifeline Express run by the Impact India Foundation to take the hospital to the remotest and poorest areas of this vast country.
Over 400,000 adults and children have benefited from the services offered by the Lifeline Express. As the video shows, the hospital has two operating theatres and other facilities that offer polio treatments, cleft lip operations and ear and eye surgery. Doctors from established hospitals volunteer a week at a time and the train moves from one remote and poor area to another.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the work carried out by the hospital on a train is the educative role of creating awareness amongst the remote communities and, the training it provides for local practitioners.
There is much that can be done to build on this high impact approach. Capitalising on railway infrastructure, a fresh look at delivering care can be explored and this can be improved on with emerging technoogies such as mobile phones and video conferencing services. Remote districts are provided the access to information and support that physical distance denies them.
This is an excellent example of how logistics can leverage an exisiting service to increase impact and outcomes.