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Record health screening during Pandharpur pilgrimage in Maharashtra

Pandharpur : A whopping 5.5 lakh Warkaris have received healthcare services during the pilgrimage to Pandharpur in Solapur district coinciding with the Ashadi Ekadashi festivities. Maharashtra government’s Health Department has organised the screening from June 26-30.

Around 20 lakh people are part of the nearly three-week-long annual pilgrimage or wari – one of the most important traditions of the Warkari sampradaya – which ends in Pandharpur on the auspicious occasion of Ashadi Ekadashi.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde too visited the health camps and reviewed the arrangements. Health Minister Dr Tanaji Sawant himself camped for several days in Pandharpur to oversee the plan to ensure that all get medical attention.

“Over 5.5 lakh Warkaris have received healthcare services. The number will shoot up,” Dr Sawant said and announced that his team will continue to serve and treat the Warkaris till the very last devotee leaves the holy city.

“I urge my Warkari brothers and sisters, who are unfortunately diagnosed with serious illness during screening tests at the mega health camp, to not panic. I have issued orders to the health department and government hospitals across Maharashtra to provide free treatment for your ailments long after you have left Pandharpur. Your case papers issued at the health camp are enough for your treatment to continue. I will be personally reviewing all the cases,” Dr Sawant told the Warkaris during his address at Pandharpur.

He also said that the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY) scheme – which entailed an insurance cover of Rs 1.5 lakh has been increased to Rs 5 lakh after merging it with Centre’s Ayushman Bharat Yohana.

All along their routes, medical teams were stationed every kilometre. A dedicated team of over 9,000 medical workers were deployed to ensure that every single ailing or fatigued Warkari got medical attention. The department also pushed into service bike ambulances and Arogya Doots, to ensure urgent medical help to Warkaris who needed urgent medical attention and needed to be rushed on congested routes.

Three mega camps were set up at Wakhari, Gopalpur and Teen Rasta – and three small facilities. The six facilities are working round the clock to ensure that no Warkari in need of medical attention is left unattended.

The camps have specialists from various fields including ophthalmology, cardiology, nephrology, orthopaedics, and diabetology, among others.

Each facility has been equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose the patients on the spot and treat them without any delay. The camps also have Intensive Care Units and surgery facilities in case of dire emergencies. The six facilities are being manned by a dedicated team of 3,669 medical experts. The staffing has been planned in such a manner that no team member works for more than 8 hours.

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