KARUNYAM NATIONAL HEALTHCARE PROGRAMME
Santhigiri Ashram has launched ‘Karunyam’, a National Healthcare Programme, to provide free Ayurveda and Siddha medicines and treatment to the underprivileged. In the first phase of the project, inaugurated by the former Captain of the Indian Cricket team, Sh. Mohammed Azharuddin, in Kerala in 2006, nearly 200,000 people benefited. Under Karunyam, medical camps are organized on a regular basis in different areas and free medical consultation and medicines are provided. In recent months, the medicines distributed at these camps to battle certain new generation viral fevers and epidemic outbreaks such as ‘Chikungunya’ have won wide-spread praise.
Another major component of ‘Karunyam’ is the adoption of villages to provide free Siddha treatment to make the rural areas disease free. As the pilot project, Guru’s birthplace, Chandiroor, an impoverished hamlet in Alappuzha district, was declared as the ‘First Siddha Gramam’. The pilot project was launched by the then Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Sh. Anbumani Ramdoss, in September, 2006. The entire village population was screened in a health survey and health cards were distributed to the villagers for free consultation and medicines. Monthly medical camps are organized in the village as part of the follow-up treatment.
In another major initiative in the 1990s, Santhigiri implemented a charitable healthcare programme of the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry under the ‘Private Voluntary Organisation for Health Services Scheme’. Focusing on mother and childcare, the programme was implemented in Palakkad district of Kerala. Under this, Santhigiri set up a 20-bed ‘Base Hospital’ and three sub-centres. The interior villages were covered through mobile clinics. The villagers were provided free pre-natal, ante-natal, childcare and fertility control services through Siddha and Ayurveda. Awareness camps were also conducted on basic hygiene, community development and eradication of diseases. Free ambulance services also were provided to the villagers under this programme.
Accident Relief Operations is another charitable activity undertaken by the Ashram’s Healthcare Division. Under this, free ambulance and crane services are provided on the National Highway in Thiruvananthapuram. This programme is being conducted in association with the union Ministry of Road Transport and National Highways.