“Nothing can be more important than ensuring that children, the elderly, and other needy members of our communities are given the help they need to live well.” – Raju Vegesna
In 2018, India launched the world’s largest government healthcare scheme, Ayushman Bharat, a Universal Health Coverage plan that aims to benefit more than 500 million people. In recent years, infant mortality rate in the country fell from 58% (infant deaths per 1,000 live births) in 2008 to 37% in 2017 in rural areas.
Despite these glimmers of hope, access to healthcare continues to be woefully inadequate across the country. Though India is among the lowest cost healthcare providers, treatment costs are still unaffordable to many. Out-of-pocket (OOP) health expenses drove 55 million Indians into poverty in 2011-12.
The Raju Vegesna Foundation aspires to fill these gaps by helping people obtain the care they need, when they need it.
One major success story is the Sri Venkateswara Institute of Research and Rehabilitation for the Disabled (VIRRD), inaugurated by former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on November 12, 2007, in Dwaraka Tirumala, West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh
The hospital has been a source of succour for the disabled. Apart from treatments and surgeries, physically challenged children are given callipers, physiotherapy and walking aids. The Airports Authority of India tied up with the hospital last year to help buy additional equipment that would provide high quality orthopaedic service to the vulnerable.
A new hospital campus is coming up on five acres and has been supported by the Raju Vegesna Foundation and its Indian arm. It will be a 100-bed air-conditioned facility with cutting-edge equipment, labs, operation theatres etc.
The Foundation conducts mobile health camps, where qualified doctors, nurses, paramedics and community health workers, travel to remote areas to offer free treatment and distributes medicines
to the poor.
The RVF also takes eye camps and health camps to numerous schools in rural areas and small towns. Spectacles are given free of cost to poor students.
The Foundation gives aid and grants to hospitals and donates medicines and medical care equipment.