CHENNAI : For the first time in India, a free medical aid service for retired seafarers has been launched by the Sailors Society in collaboration with the Voluntary Health Services (VHS) in Chennai.This unique free medical care by the Sailors Society is a great boon for retired seafarers and their family members who are facing financial crisis. On September 8, Sailor Society’s free ambulance trial run service was launched by S Barik, principal officer, Mercantile Marine Department, Ministry of Shipping, Chennai.
Founded more than 200 years ago, in 1818, Sailors Society is a charity supporting and caring for an often forgotten group of people. Sailors Society is present at many of the key ports around the world, and their chaplains and volunteers assist thousands of seafarers each year; extending a hand of friendship, hospitality, and pastoral care to all seafarers regardless of rank or circumstance.
The VHS hospital has completed 50 years as non-profitable health care services. About 70 per cent of the patients (those with a monthly income below a certain limit) are treated free of cost. The hospital is a multi-specialty 465-bedded tertiary teaching hospital offering modern medical care.All general specialties and a few super specialties including a blood bank, hemophilia centre and de-addiction programme are available. Dialysis, laboratory investigations are available at a nominal cost.
“We are committed to the welfare of seafarers and their families. The retired seafarers have sacrificed their lives for the betterment of mankind, and the maritime community should not neglect them. We are also glad that the maritime community has come forward and extended their hands to support us for this noble cause. Also, the management of VHS hospital readily came forward to join hands with us and render best medical care for retired seafarers,” said V Manoj Joy, community project manager, Sailors Society.