The main aim of the Mobile Medical Unit is to reach the population of 25,000 people in the 31 villages and hamlets surrounding the Michelin site in Tamil Nadu, for whom access to basic healthcare is restricted, primarily those persons with limited mobility such as persons with disabilities, the very infirm and the elderly. The specific objectives of the MMU are in the prevention non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, anaemia and malnutrition and in the treatment of acute and chronic diseases.
The personnel for the MMU includes a doctor, a nurse, a cordinator, six health workers and a driver.
What follows is a paper written on the history of Mobile Medical Units in general and the FORRAD – Michelin uit in particular. It contains three sections as detailed below and provides an insightful narrative. Archana Venkatesh studies Women in History at Columbus, Ohio. She used to work with FORRAD and remains closely connected.
Mobile Medical Units: In History and Beyond
By Archana Venkatesh
Bringing healthcare to rural India has proved to be a challenge since the days of the British Raj. Public Health archives in any state are littered with references to reluctant doctors being forced to take up government jobs in rural government hospitals. A large part of this reluctance was the lack of potential for earnings through private practice in the evenings. However, many doctors also objected to the poor facilities in Primary Healthcare Centres in rural parts of the country – an objection that continues to haunt the placement of doctors in rural India today.Read more
Mobile Medical Units: A not-so-brief History
Mobile Medical Units were originally developed for military use during the Second World War. However, they were quickly abandoned in favour of the more popular and effective Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH) which also had the capacity to perform battlefield surgery before sending soldiers to better equipped hospitals further away from the front. The idea of an MMU, however, was not altogether abandoned. In fact, it caught on quickly among the civilian population in many countries, including the US, UK, Cuba and (you guessed it) India. Read more
The FORRAD-Michelin MMU in Operation
A recent initiative by the Foundation for Rural Recovery and Development (FORRAD) is a Mobile Medical Unit, which addresses the medical needs of 31 settlements in the project area. This MMU is funded by the Michelin Corporate Foundation, Paris; and is staffed by a doctor, nurse, health worker, coordinator, and driver. There are six village level health workers who take responsibility for the villages on their roster. Read more