Doctor distributes meals to elderly, migrants stranded due to lockdown

Doctor distributes meals to elderly, migrants stranded due to lockdown
By Payal Banerjee

New Delhi, Apr 15 () A doctor from the Geriatric Department of AIIMS has gone beyond the call of his duty and taken the initiative of serving cooked food to old age homes, slum dwellers and migrants stranded amidst the coronavirus lockdown.


Since March 27, Dr Prasun Chatterjee, an associate professor in the Department of Geriatric Medicine, also the founder President of an NGO Healthy Aging India, with his team of volunteers has distributed over 50,000 one-time large meals.

"Our team has been visiting old age homes, slums, homes for persons with disabilites and even rag-pickers' colonies to distribute food to save them from starvation. We started with old age homes," he said.

Besides, this mass feeding drive in communities, Dr Chatterjee and his team has also been distributing masks, and sensitizing the community about social distancing, hand washing, and respiratory etiquettes.

Dr Vijay Gurjar, assistant professor in the Department of Geriatric medicine at AIIMS, who is also associated with this initiative has also been visiting old age homes and slums regularly to spread awareness about the disease and preventive measures.


"Being a doctor we know that in these critical conditions nutrition is the most important thing for poor people especially senior citizens and the children, " Dr Gurjar said.

He also highlighted that physical distancing is not maintained in old age homes and said the older people are weak and suffer from various-co-morbid conditions and thus are at high risk of the deadly COVID-19.

To understand the specific needs of the community Dr Chatterjee also visits the communities on a regular interval.

"As per the felt need, we also initiated distribution of milk for infants and young children below five years catering to almost 300 children everyday in two slums located in Prem Nagar and Rohini sector 23," he said.

The NGO has also released a helpline number 18001028836 and anyone can directly call on it for food.


"Emergency calls have been pouring in and over 200 people have been catered to within two hours of intimation," he said.

A woman from the rag-picker community of Prem Nagar said they would go to a school in the vicinity to get the food but queues would be so long that by the time their turn came, the food would be finished .

"We felt we were born again when the NGO gave us 'khichri'. We had wholesome food after some days," she said.

Vinod, a migrant labourer from a slum in Rohini and a native of Bihar, said their group needs cooked food rather than dry ration as they have no gas facility to cook or store their ration.

Healthy Aging India was started by a few doctors from AIIMS in 2013 to intervene in the area of elderly care in society, and had been running programs in the health and education sector,under the guidance of Dr Chatterjee. PLB DVDV

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