10 january 2013
Mental health and trauma – two of India's top killers – have seldom received the attention they deserve from the government. But the awards jury turned the spotlight squarely on these problems. This year, it awarded organizations that provide emergency care or work for the welfare of persons with mental disabilities.
In the corporate category, Ziqitza Health Care, which operates over 860 ambulances in Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar , Kerala and Mumbai, and says it has transported more than 1.8 million people, has won the award.
Ziqitza was set up to help establish an ambulance service that's accessible and affordable to all sections of society in medical emergencies, irrespective of the affected person's capacity to pay for it. It conceived a cross–subsidy , fee–based service using differential pricing where wealthier customers would pay the full rate for the ambulance service while the poor get hefty discounts and free service.
In the government category, the jury unanimously approved the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism Cerebral Palsy Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities. The organization provides health insurance for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities . Under the ministry of social justice & empowerment, this centre was started in 2007 when no health insurance products were available for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The scheme does not discriminate on severity of any pre–insurance condition and is for all ages. It provides for a bouquet of services, including therapy, surgery and even alternative medicine up to Rs 1 lakh per annum at a nominal premium of Rs 250 per annum for those earning just Rs 15,000 per month and a premium of Rs 500 per annum for those earning more. Over 800 NGOs across India are involved in rolling out the scheme.
In the NGO category, the Karuna Trust that provides free primary healthcare in remote, tribal and insurgency–prone regions in partnership with the government left behind all other claimants. The trust was started by Dr H Sudarshan in BR Hills, Karnataka for the integrated development of tribal people. Karuna Trust has worked to "reach the unreached" and provide free primary healthcare for the past 26 years.