Sat, 23 Mar, 2019

Doctor on wheels: Healing patients one trip at a time

An industrial physician with an entrepreneur’s mind, Dr Gokuldas Mangeshkar successfully launched an innovative project - a double expandable foldable mobile clinic module in November 2015 which offers benefits to 15,000 odd workers every year and now dreaming big he announces to launch his even bigger module worth Rs 5 crore in a year’s time

27th August 2018, 12:18 Hrs


A man of simplicity and humbleness, Dr Gokuldas Mangeshkar, started small but always aimed high. He has come up with an innovative module wherein a mobile vehicle with all the facilities travels to the place of health check-ups wherein the employees do not have to travel to the hospitals to get their regular, annual health check-ups - thus saving time, money and man hours.  

But it was not easy to put his concept to practice and make it a reality. It’s a long journey, recalls, Dr Gokuldas who did MBBS at Goa Medical College before pursuing his diploma in occupational and industrial health in 1999. “I also worked as a lecturer in GMC during 1999- 2004,” recalls Dr Gokuldas who was awarded certificate in ultra-sonography by the Directorate of Health Services through Goa Medical College.  

Being entrepreneurial in nature Dr Gokuldas left the government job and started his own practice in 2005 at Ponda. As time lapsed, he managed to open his own clinic in 2008. Today, he is managing a team of 25 medical and paramedical personnel who have been working with him since the inception.  

Because of his simplicity and kindness his team has stood by him through many difficult situations, giving him support and confidence. He does not shy away from dedicating his success to his team members, friends and family. Being an artist by passion, Dr Gokuldas, in his free time plays the tabla (musical instrument) and also acts in plays.  

Three full-time doctors have teamed up with him - Dr Jose Borges, Dr Sanjay Dameker and Dr Satyavan Goankar along with five nurses, lab technicians and X-ray technicians as well as other technical and paramedical staff to handle the operations. The team helps him conduct regular health awareness campaigns for the community.  

Upon being asked how the idea of a mobile clinic and lab hit him, this industrial physician briefs, “As part of my activity we are required to carry out medical examination at factory’s Occupational Health Center (OHC) or at any given premises such as conference hall etc. We are required to conduct blood tests, X-Ray, ECG, audiometry, spirometry, vision tests etc. Sometimes we have to conduct all these tests in 1-2 given rooms where it is not possible. We need radiation-proof cubical for X-Ray, sound-proof room for audiometry, separate ECG room. Also there are privacy issues, radiation safety issues, blood to be taken in lab for analysis and sometimes possibility of variation in results due to decomposition of blood. So we started thinking the possibilities of whether all these tests can be conducted at factory site in a desired manner. We deliberated and finally this idea of a double expandable foldable mobile clinic 

module struck to our mind.”  

When this idea struck Dr Gokuldas, it was required to be designed and fabricated accordingly. “Unfortunately, we could not trace anybody in India who could design as per our requirements. Ultimately we had to design the module ourselves and get it fabricated from a local fabricator,” he admits.

This innovative project was launched in November 2015. Since the launch of project, approximately 12000-15000 persons are availing benefits of this facility every year.  

His double expandable foldable mobile clinic is built on a 10 mtr long TATA chassi. The space available in functional position is approximately 60 sq mts. It is equipped with basic facilities like pathological laboratory, radiation-proof lead cubical for X-Ray, CR system, ECG, sound-proof audiometry cubical, spiorometry, vision testing, space big enough for two doctors and a reception. “There is no OT (operation theatre) in this vehicle but yes, we can provide OT in such a vehicle, if need be,” quips Dr Gokuldas.  

In our occupational health practice, we believe ‘Prevention is Cure’ because most of the occupationally induced diseases do not have treatment or are very difficult to treat. For example noise induced hearing loss - once someone develops this, we cannot cure it. Hence in our practice, we believe prevention is cure. Health awareness campaign in industries forms the crux of our ideology. Also we execute occupational/industrial health programs keeping in mind the welfare of employees besides statutory requirements. Dr Gokuldas does not want to stop here, he has a higher mission on his mind. The doctor states that the existing project was actually launched as an experimental module to see the feasibility of providing occupational health facilities to different industrial units.  

“In our opinion this is very successful module. But through this we can only cover industrial workers and that too, for limited tests which are mentioned above. We have a vision to explore the possibility of introducing such facilities on a mass scale and design mobile hospital having OT facilities, minor ICU, emergency admission beds, pathological investigation, X-Ray, USG, echocardiography, treadmill and facilities such as CT scan,” shares Dr Gokuldas.  

These facilities can be moved to remote areas where modern medical facilities do not exist. Also arrangement can be made to transfer these facilities to disaster/emergency areas in a short span of time which can contribute to saving of lives. Telemedicine can be incorporated to facilitate health care delivery system. “As a part of our mission we have already designed double expandable double height automatic foldable module having 150 sq mtr area in functional position. This module will be launched in a year’s time,” announces Dr Gokuldas.  

The exiting module cost him approximately Rs 75 lakh. The module which he desires to launch soon (that is double expandable double height foldable mobile clinic) will cost him approximately Rs 5 crores. But he is optimistic that he would make it soon. His vision gives priority to the welfare of the society and in his core practice, the welfare of a working population.

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