by The Welthi Bureau | 15 FEB 2018
Frontline forest staff have to brave difficult terrains, harsh weather conditions, wildlife and other adversities in their daily lives. To address this, WWF-India and Apollo Hospitals Foundation today announced the renewal of their partnership under the ‘Specialised Medical Scheme’ of Apollo Hospitals wherein free medical treatment and recovery support is provided to frontline forest staff in case of a severe medical emergency, while on duty. The MoU was signed by Ms Upasana Kamineni Konidela, Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Foundation and Mr Karan Bhalla, COO, WWF.
The renewal is an extension of a larger partnership launched in 2015 to provideimmediate medical support to frontline protection staff and local communities in areas whereWWF-India is actively working along with the state forest departments for species and landscape conservation. Under the new partnership, effective for a year starting April 2018,medical support will be provided across 18states, including Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The partnership covershealth screening camps for frontline forest staff and community members. Specialized medical treatment to frontline forest stafffor cases including (but not confined to) grievous injury due to attacks by wild animals; fall from elevated areas (like hills or machines); accidents while patrolling invehicles (collision or falling off); burns during fire-fighting operations; injuries in crowd control operationsduring incidents of human-wildlife conflict; medical emergencies during extreme climatic events, life threatening diseases like malaria, dengue, etc.; venomous bites/stings, and electrocution will be provided.
This unique partnership between Apollo Hospitals Foundation and WWF-Indiahas benefittedmore than 1500 frontline staff through health screening campsin Assam and Tamil Nadu over the last few years. In Assam, representatives from Apollo Hospital, the Assam Forest Department and WWF-India organised a 7-day health screening camp at the Kaziranga National Park and North KarbiAnglong Forest Division in November-December 2016 and similar camps in Tamil Nadu in June 2017. Five members of the forest departments of Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Rajasthanwere also provided specialized medical care in Apollo Hospitals for injuries received while on duty.
Speaking about the partnership, Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India said, “Thepartnershipbuilds on WWF-India’s focus on welfare and protection of frontline forest staff engaged in wildlife protection. The partnership with the Apollo Hospitals Foundation helps us amplify our support to the Forest Departments across the country and enable us to provide immediate and expert medical careto local communities and frontline personnel who protect the forests and wildlife of India.”
Ms. Upasana Kamineni Konidela, Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Foundation said, “We at Apollo Hospitals Foundation understand the perils that these frontline staff face and we are always there to support them in their endeavour to help conserve our wildlife. Apollo Foundation is taking care of the people who take care of the fauna in the forests. Hats off to their dedicated work to protect our forest assets. As part of this agreement we cover the health of forest guards in 18states, by screening their health, providing diagnostic support and treatment besides conducting health camps. We feel it’s out duty to contribute our bit to safeguard our forests by taking care of the people who man the forests.”
Mr Karan Bhalla, COO, WWF, after signing the agreement said, “we cherish this partnership and there is tremendous value add through this relationship.”
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