- Srinagar-based Help Poor Voluntary Trust provides free treatment
- The NGO also provides free medicines and ambulance service to the Kashmiris
- Our passion is helping those who can’t afford to stay healthy: HPVT
New Delhi: With a mission to help the poor, during the pandemic, Farooq Ahmad Bhat and his NGO, Help Poor Voluntary Trust (HPVT), have become a beacon of hope for hundreds living in the Kashmir Valley. Kashmir, which has been in a lockdown since August 2019 even before the pandemic for political reasons, has been the hardest hit during the COVID-19 isolation, with a crippled local economy affecting livelihoods of people. Mr Bhat and his NGO have been helping those who are in need of urgent medical assistance, but can’t afford it, in these tough times.
Every morning, patients and their relatives line up outside the HPVT office in Srinagar. These patients need help which can be as basic as free medicines, ambulance services to something as crucial as financial assistance for their treatment.
We have only one goal, to make sure people don’t have to worry about money when it comes to their health. Health is an integral part of their Right to Life and we just want to ensure that they do not need to compromise on that. Our passion remains in providing medical care to help save the lives of those who simply do not have the money that they require to stay healthy, said Mr Bhat, the founder of HPVT.
Mohammad Rafiq, a cardiac patient from downtown Srinagar, says that Mr Bhat and his NGO have been ‘life savers’. He told NDTV,
They helped me with coronary artery stent implant which costs Rs 80,000. Not just that, they are also helping me with monthly medicines as I have no source of income.
However, ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, HPVT is providing free medicines and financial help to poor patients. Mr Bhat says that this is in addition to the existing 1,200 registered patients, who they have been helping for free for years.
Among them, 250 patients have kidney problems and need regular dialysis, so we help them with that. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in March, the trust has given free medicines worth over Rs 50 lakh, he said.
Abdul Rashid, from Lolab in Kupwara district, which is about 110 km from Srinagar, says that he too has been receiving a monthly assistance from HPVT, for his son who was suffering from renal failure.
They are helping me with Rs 5,000 per month for medicines because we need money for dialysis and medicines, said Mr Rashid.
HPVT also organises medical camps in far-flung areas as well as in schools of various districts of valley, which had to stop due to the pandemic, and hence people from all over the valley visit Srinagar to seek help.
After the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed, the management decided to provide free medicines to patients suffering from diseases like kidney failure, chronic liver disease, mental disorders, Mr Bhat said.
Despite the year-long blackout in the valley, emergency services by the NGO have helped save lives even when residents had no access to dial 100 or call an ambulance in Kashmir. HPVT is also running a non-profit pharmacy, from where citizens can buy medicines at cheaper rates. The NGO credits locals who have stepped up to make donations, so that they can continue saving lives.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.