Mobile health clinics are to come up in tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh to make up for the lack of basic medical care in the impoverished regions.
The government is determined to make the clinics a success by monitoring their functioning through the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) in the state capital.
The scheme will kick off Aug 15, the 60th anniversary of the country's independence. A pilot project last year proved to be successful.
Health Minister Ajay Vishnoi said: "We have decided to launch mobile clinics in 52 blocks of 10 tribal districts from August 15 after seeing the success of such clinics in 11 tribal blocks where they were started last year on an experimental basis."
The clinics will distribute medicines and provide facilities for vaccination and medical examination of women before and after delivery in Khargone, Badwani, Jhabua, Dhar, Ratlam, Betul, Mandla, Dindori, Anuppur and Seoni districts.
Besides, information regarding various health schemes and family planning would also be given at these places.
Sachin Jain, an activist who has been working among the tribals for over a decade, said: "The tribal population of Madhya Pradesh has long been denied basic healthcare due to a combination of societal attitudes, varying belief systems and a common neglect, with the result that there exist gaping disparities in health status of tribals as compared to those living in urban areas.
"Therefore, genetic abnormalities and infectious diseases such as sickle-cell anaemia, malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, typhoid and cholera are rampant in rural - mainly remote tribal - areas of the state."
Jain added: "In several villages in Sheopur district, the large number of children who have died since 2006 because of chronic malnutrition recently prompted Supreme Court commissioners to call the region one of the world's malnutrition hotspots.
"Even as the Indian government says that maternal mortality numbers are falling, tribal women in Madhya Pradesh are facing a negligent, cruel and corrupt healthcare system and dying during childbirth."
But Vishnoi said all this would soon be a thing of the past. He hoped that the mobile clinics would help bring about a remarkable improvement in the status of healthcare in tribal areas.
"On an average, 75 patients were treated daily in each mobile clinic during the trial period. Besides providing service at the doorsteps of tribals living in these blocks, the clinics will also render services during natural calamities."