THE HEALTHY VIEW
Dr Moopen of Aster Healthcare on safeguarding healthcare during tough times
ANATION IS PRIMARILY MEASURED
by its healthy citizens and education which ultimately leads to its economic development. As such, healthcare should be considered more than just a business. It is a service dedicated to the welfare of people, restoring wellness and saving lives, which ultimately leads to building the capability of a nation to progress. In the process profit just becomes a by-product. As healthcare providers, we have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference by giving back to the society and fulfill many of the crucial need gaps which exists in accessing healthcare.
When Aster DM Healthcare started its journey with a single clinic in Dubai in 1987, healthcare in UAE was still in its nascent stages with limited quality healthcare options being available for the expats in UAE. We started receiving many patients and I started offering free consultations and free medicines every Tuesday for the people who could not afford medical treatments. The concept of giving back to the society became in-grained into the DNA of our organisation and as the organisation grew, so did our efforts to reach out to as many people as we can. In 2016, Aster Volunteers was established as the CSR arm of Aster DM Healthcare with an aim of serving as a catalyst for social impact action and to function as a platform for all those who wish to contribute to our humanitarian efforts. Operating under a two-fold approach, Aster Volunteers encourages members from our internal group entities to personally take up and see through as many initiatives as possible to give back to the society. On the other hand, we are working to build a combined volunteer force consisting of Aster employees and members of the public, who are willing to utilise their time and energy to make a meaningful impact in the society.
Gradually, the platform has grown to empower communities to drive the spirit of volunteerism through social impact interventions in healthcare, environment, education and social uplifting through sustainable practices. We aim to make the programme a global movement by seeking to bridge the gap between the thousands of people who need help and many others who are willing to spend their time to help people in need, irrespective
of differences in ethnicity, distance, capabilities and cultural background.
Today, the programme is operating through eight core pillars – free surgeries and investigations, basic life support awareness, disaster relief and aid programme, free medical and wellness camp, recruitment and support of people with determination, mobile medical services, child health and wellness, and sustainability and community connect. Most of our initiatives under these pillars are being driven by our employees based across the eight countries in which we are present and with pride I can say that we have been able to introduce some significant interventions in many areas. When the devastating Kerala Floods of 2018 left hundreds and thousands of people homeless, our Aster Volunteers were the first responders on the ground to provide humanitarian aid and medical support, touching more than 50,000 lives. To help these homeless families rebuild their lives, we promised to build 250 Aster Homes and on March 1, 2020, in the presence of Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, we handed over the first 100 homes. The next phase of construction is ongoing and we would be delivering the rest of the homes very soon.
Similarly, our disaster relief and aid programmes in Somalia, Jordan, Bangladesh, Kerala and Maharashtra has impacted 288,158 lives. Our free surgeries and investigations have helped 35,440 people in need. Our
Aster Volunteers Mobile Medical Services which is operating in India and UAE has been able to impact 282, 254 people and we are launching five new mobile medical service vehicles in Ethiopia, Oman and India. Our child health and wellness programme has 20,920 beneficiaries. Till date, we have been able to impact 1.3 million lives and around 27,400 volunteers are now a part of our programme.
Being differently abled should not be a hindrance in the path of anyone’s dreams, goals and success. I believe that every individual who has a passion for achieving their dreams and do not shy away from hard work should be given a platform and opportunity with zero discrimination or prejudice. With this thought, we have given opportunities to 110 people of determination to join us in different capacities across our organisation. Furthermore, we are thinking of introducing a capability building or training programme for people of determination to make them eligible for employment.
We have made continuous efforts in the past to serve people and provide the less fortunate with the same care, support and opportunities as everyone else and we aim to strive for much more in the future and help the world grow sustainably. Companies across every sector have the opportunity to give back and address major issues which are affecting the world today.
We, as business leaders, need to be more empathetic, kind, caring and go beyond our boundaries to help the people and planet for the world to move in a positive direction. Success is best achieved when we align our skill set, capabilities, ideals and ambitions to fulfil the needs of the society and the planet we live in.