After working on this idea for nearly two years Dr. Vaidya founded ‘Arogya Sena’ (Health Army) on 12th March, 1995 at Bedse, a tiny village from Tal. Maval, Dist. Pune, Maharashtra State, along with his colleagues Mr. Satyajit Vaidya, Mr. Kamlesh Hajare, Dr. Nitin Ketkar, Dr. Vijay Setiya, Dr. Ramesh Bidwe and local youths. Since then he is been traveling extensively with a team of highly educated and dedicated doctors and volunteers, training people in ‘Disaster Management and Medical Relief Work’, binding them into a network of nationwide organization, motivating them to rush in the events of any disaster.
Miserable state of Disaster Management in India…
Disaster Management is the most neglected subject in our country. Nearly 60,000 lives are lost every year in various natural calamities and nearly 80,000 lives are lost every year in various major accidents. Medical aid within ‘Golden Hour’, that is within an hour of any disaster or accident can save majority of lives. This requires planning before disaster, efficient response system and system for recovery and rehabilitation, ultimately requiring an efficient network of ‘Disaster Management’ across our country. Government planning has always remained on the paper and has failed miserably, may be because of rigid bureaucracy or apathy of political leadership whenever any disaster has struck us, may it be earthquake of Latur and Bhuj, floods in Assam, cyclones in Tamilnadu, Orissa, W. Bengal and recent tsunami in Tamilnadu and Kerala. Arogya Sena (Health Army) is the first attempt in our country to stimulate sensitivity, humanity and national spirit of the people, empower them with scientific knowledge, motivate them to form an organization and inspire them to work with dedication in the events of disasters.
Establishing a branch and the training…
All those who are inspired by this idea and wish to devote themselves to this cause can come together, form an ad hoc committee (later to be approved by the central committee) and start a branch of Arogya Sena. This committee can recruit dedicated volunteers through a prescribed form, provided through National Head Office from Pune. These volunteers, apart from their faith in the ideals of Arogya Sena must have faith in social justice, equality and secularism and democratic socialism. After recruiting around 50-100 volunteers, Arogya Sena’s central team of experts visits the branch and personally trains these volunteers. The training is given ‘free’ to these volunteers, age, gender and education is no bar. Local committee is allowed to raise the expenses of the arrangements through contribution or donations. Local committee is expected to make arrangements of suitable hall or auditorium, screen, generator or inverter, Trainee Arogya Sainik badge, tea and lunch for all, banners and proper press coverage before and after the training, but is not expected to take care of the training team financially.
The training is completed in a day from 9 am to 5 pm with the help of around 400 slides and many video clippings. The training covers up basics of medical knowledge required to work as a team during disasters, concept of mass casualty incident, triage, methods for shifting of patients, knowledge of equipment required by such a team, preparedness for natural disasters, accidents, terrorism, riots, unconventional wars (nuclear, biological, chemical warfare’s) and concept of overall disaster management. It also deals with various aspects of public health and its challenges before social and political health of our nation. All those who complete the entire training are awarded a certificate and a badge of Arogya Sainik (Health soldier) at the end and given Solemn Oath.
A local committee of 10 members – Branch Chief (1), General Secretary (1), Secretaries (2), Treasurer (1) and Members (5) is officially declared before concluding the session which is later incorporated into a larger branch. The committee is expected to hold regular meetings and send its report to the National Chief. While establishing directly a state branch, volunteers from most of the districts of the state can receive training and later establish district branches and percolate the idea. Along with this every branch has to select a 10 member team, with at least one doctor, as a disaster medical relief team.
Detailed guidance and instructions to be availed from:
Mr. Laxmikant Mundada
National General Secretary,