The 200-year-old sailors organisation launched the project recently with VHS Chennai where a dedicated doctor will attend to the retired seafarers.

Retired seafarers can now enjoy free medical care thanks to Sailors Society in Chennai
news Human Interest Monday, October 08, 2018 - 19:01

Once conquerors of the mighty oceans, seafarers remain a forgotten community after their prime. To help retired seafarers, the Sailors Society has launched a healthcare program in Chennai collaborating with the Voluntary Health Services (VHS) hospital.

The program aims to provide comprehensive health check-ups to retired seafarers and their families, who are not covered under the pension scheme. According to the specifics of the scheme, retired seafarers are brought to the VHS hospital and given a full body medical check up in regular intervals. Health issues that are diagnosed during the check up are treated within the hospital.

Speaking to TNM, Manoj Joy, the Community Project Manager of Sailors Society told TNM that in order to ensure medical care for the elderly, the organisation has recently purchased an ambulance. This ambulance, according to Manoj, will help to ferry the elderly from their homes to the hospital for their check-ups. Expressing his gratitude to Clarksons Platou for helping fund the purchase of ambulance, he also said that the project would not have been possible without the efforts of Sandra Welch, the deputy CEO of Sailors Society in UK. 

“In order to provide medical care to those who visit VHS under this program, the hospital has allotted a dedicated doctor for attending to the cases. We have also arranged to provide breakfast to the patients who visit VHS under the program,” he said.

Although Sailors Society is a 200-year-old global organisation, it is just two years old in India. Speaking about identifying the seafarers who are in need of medical care, Manoj said that Association of Retired Seafarers help them to identify those in need of help.

Adding that Sailors Society is planning to partner with insurance companies, Manoj said, “We are now encouraging retired seafarers to register with our organisation, since it would be helpful to keep record of their medical history and to mobilise help during times of need.”

Dr S Suresh, Honorary Secretary of VHS spoke to TNM and said that around 1,000 retired seafarers are expected to receive health services under the program.

“It has only been a week since we started this. We diagnosed two men with high blood sugar, which they were unaware of until then. We took them in and treated them with medications. I think this would be a helpful initiative for those who do not have means to give themselves proper medical care,” he said.

This project was launched by Madras High Court Justice N Kirubakaran, who had remarked during the inauguration that seafaring is not new to Tamil Nadu. He had spoken at length regarding the Naval power of the Cholas and how they had played a vital role in expansion of their kingdoms.

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