The mini hospital is part of the Company’s Corporate Responsibility programme in India through which it supports development programmes in the areas of primary education and healthcare in rural and urban communities across seven states of the country. For this, BAE Systems has partnered with Smile Foundation, a national level development organization with an outreach of over 200,000 underprivileged children, women and youth across 25 Indian states.
The Chairman is leading the BAE Systems Board’s first visit to India, one of its five key markets. Accompanying the Board is Guy Griffiths, Group Managing Director – International, Dean McCumiskey, Managing Director and Chief Executive - India, and a number of Company leaders.
The ceremony, held at BAeHAL Limited, an engineering services and business solutions Joint Venture between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and BAE Systems (40%), also saw Mr Ian King, CEO, BAE Systems plc, hand over the keys of the mobile mini hospital to Smile Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer Vikram Singh Verma and Director and CEO of Bangalore Baptist Hospital Dr Alexander Thomas. Bangalore Baptist Hospital is responsible for the implementation of the ‘Smile on Wheels’ programme.
Richard Olver, Chairman, BAE Systems plc, said: “The India Community Investment programme in India is a fine demonstration of our shared global value of investing actively in the communities in which work, including supporting social development. This healthcare programme is dedicated to the city of Bengaluru, the home of the India Hawk and the country’s aerospace sector which is spearheaded by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, with whom we have the privilege of a strong, trusted relationship borne of our longstanding collaboration on the Hawk programme.”
BAE Systems’ support to the purpose-built Mobile Medical Unit enables underserved urban communities in Bengaluru to avail doorstep access to a team of doctors and nurses and state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities such as X-Ray, ECG, IV fluid transmission and basic pathological testing. The programme also envisages setting up referral linkages with local hospitals as well as a establishing a Community Health Fund to become self-sustaining over the long-term. In the first year of operations, the outreach of the Mobile Medical Unit is estimated at over 20,000 people.
Vikram Singh Verma, Chief Operating Officer, Smile Foundation, said: “This new Smile on Wheels is an excellent addition to our existing fleet of 23 mobile health units and enables a further expansion of our programme in Karnataka. The success of the Smile on Wheels model lies in its accessibility, availability and affordability for target populations with a special focus on children and women. With this, we are happy to deepen our partnership with BAE Systems as well as join hands with Bangalore Baptist Hospital who have an excellent track record of delivering community health services. I am confident that over time, the benefits of this programme will extend far beyond health services and lead to a measurable all-round improvement in the health-seeking behaviours of the communities it serves.”
Dr Alexander Thomas, Director and CEO, Bangalore Baptist Hospital, said: “Bangalore Baptist Hospital has been serving the poor and underprivileged with quality, ethical medical care for the past 40 years. We have been able to overcome the barriers of financial and physical inaccessibility to health care through our outreach services. We are indeed very happy to partner the Smile Foundation in their “Smile of Wheels” project that would further strengthen our efforts. We also thank BAE Systems for their support”.