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Lifeline Express hospital train’s mission to Sagara, India

Lifeline Express hospital train Sagara

For a third year the Emirates Airline Foundation sponsored the Lifeline Express, a train which brings medical care to communities in need across India. Lifeline Express is a project in cooperation with Indian Railways and Impact India Foundation. Their latest mission was held in the city of Sagara, in the Indian state of Karnataka, located in the Western Ghats range. Increasing outreach by over 30% compared with last year’s mission to Wadi Railway Station, the Lifeline Express team this year saw over 5,300 patients.

Sagara has an agricultural economy in which the main commodity cultivated is areca nut, a cash crop and a raw material for making betel nut. The city is known for families that have for generations been engaged in sandalwood and ivory carving. In India, politicians and notables are often greeted with garlands made from flowers of thin shavings of sandalwood. The garlands are handmade by the women of Sagara.

Lifeline Express hospital train Sagara

This year’s mission to Sagar Jambagaru Railway Station, sponsored by the Emirates Airline Foundation, provided free of cost healthcare services to the poor and underprivileged living in Sagara’s Shimoga and Uttar Kannada districts. Local advertisements and pamphlets were distributed to spread the word across the community about the train and its services, which covered everything from basic check-ups to surgery across specialities including dentistry, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, plastic surgery for cleft lip and burns, and treatment for polio and epilepsy.

Lifeline Express hospital train Sagara

Managing patients and their queries for screening and medical check-ups was conducted by officials from Lifeline Express and its staff members, officials from the Health Department, student volunteers from Indira Gandhi College, Sagara, and nursing students from Gangotri nursing school.

Screening and medical check-up of patients was done at Sagar Seva School. A registration room met the large crowds for Ear, Dental and Ophthalmology consultations. It also had two rooms that functioned as outpatient departments. Patients that required only medicines could take the prescribed medicines at a pharmacy set up in another room.

Lifeline Express hospital train SagaraLifeline Express hospital train Sagara

The Lifeline Express train, parked at the Sagar Jambagaru Railway Station, served as the operating theatres, recovery room and dental clinic. Patients requiring surgery were ferried from the school to the train by an ambulance provided by the local health department to be admitted. Following initial recovery, patients were transported to the Sub-divisional Government Hospital in Sagar by ambulance. All post-surgery follow up was carried out by the local health department.

The mission to Sagara was a success. Of the 5,300 patients who registered at Lifeline Express during the mission, over 925 were admitted to the train for advanced treatment. Hearing aids were fitted for 300 patients, 335 patients received eye surgery (predominately for cataracts) and dental procedures were provided for 428 patients in need.

Here are just a few of the stories of patients who benefited from the mission:

Saiyyad, age 16

Lifeline Express hospital train Sagara

Saiyyad suffered a back injury when he was 13, but the family took it as a normal incident and did not pay much attention to it. After a year or so, Saiyyad developed blindness in one of his eyes. His family heard about Lifeline Express through the pamphlets and brought him to the train hoping to find a cure. Saiyyad was quickly diagnosed a traumatic cataract patient and was admitted for surgery. One day later, Saiyyad could see again. His family was overjoyed, and so was Saiyyad, who was finally restored with healthy eyesight.

Shashank, age 22

Lifeline Express hospital train Sagara

Shashank, a diploma student, came to the Lifeline Express for treatment for his running ear. He was unable to get care for his condition at local clinics, and surgery in a faraway private hospital was beyond his family’s means. He was admitted for ear surgery and underwent an RE mastoidectomy. Shashank was expressed his gratitude, he said “I am indebted to Lifeline Express and all the people who are helping with its service for relieving me from my ear suffering.”

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