Truck Drivers are Unsung heroes of the road transport world
Truck Drivers transport everything and anything. They are the Economy movers, Nation movers. 70% of all the freight that is moved in our country is handled. by truck driver. Our essential needs are met because truck drivers deliver goods to grocery stores and restaurants efficiently. Truck Drivers are Unsung heroes of the road transport world
Bearing this in mind Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL, India's Indian central public sector undertaking under the ownership of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India embarked on an initiative for Truck Drivers. Every year it takes up a major issue related to Health promotion. This year during their formation day they have decided to promote the health of truck drivers.
BPCL initiated AWARE, a Hyderabad based well known NGO to conduct free mega Medical and health checkup camps at Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Chittoor (AP), Hyderabad (TS), Hubli, Bellary, Chikballapur, Peenya, Mangalore (Karnataka), Chennai, Salem, Tuticorin (Tamil Nādu), Pondicherry (UT) Ernakulam (Kerala). Mega Health Camps were conducted at 14 locations in South India in coordination with local BPCL staff.
The medical camp in such a large number of locations with so many beneficiaries was organized on the eve of BPCL, India's second largest Governmental own oil producer, Formation Day. It was conducted between January 20th-24th, 2023 for four days.
The initiative covered 2713 Truck Drivers as against targeted 1595 truck drivers. Tests like ECG, Blood sugar, EYE test, ENT services, Cancer Screening, Covid Booster dose of Vaccination and HIV tests conducted at parking bays in various locations. Medical experts from different disciplines such as cardiology, orthopedic, ophthalmology, neurology, and general physician participated in the drive. They were given free food packets and medicines for 10 days. Additionally, they were guided for further treatment wherever it was necessary.
India has over eighty lakh truck drivers and 1.2 crore their helpers.
Stretched working hours, Unhealthy eating habits combined with little exercise can lead to various health issues for truck drivers, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Some of the common health conditions identified during the camp especially in case of the long-haul truck drivers is Heart disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, High cholesterol, Sleep apnea. Lack of physical activity, sedentary lifestyle etc. and others.
Before, during and after the initiative, it was discovered that Long – HAUL truck drivers always develop a number of Health problems because of their work and environment. If they get a medical condition that affects their ability to drive it would cost them not only their commercial driving license, but lead to accidents which may cause permanent disability of the citizens. Our study clearly indicates that over 50% of Indian truck drivers suffer from health issues. They often drive 12 hours during night which is the worst to affect their health. It is obvious truck drivers experience physical and mental stress.
Nearly 23% truck drivers battle for sleep, about 18% face physical and 12% mental stress. It is also revealed that most of the drivers traveling at night sleep very little and even when they take rest 81% of them sleep inside the truck itself. Sedentary lifestyle and inadequate sleep are dangerous combinations.
For this initiative AWARE and BPCL team contacted local doctors, medical professionals and paramedical workers to participate in this free mega health checkup camps on the dates fixed up by BPCL. Since it is part of AYUSH, the other doctors like Ayurvedic homeopathic and others joined the team of doctors, In Visakhapatnam location even 2 hours Yoga was also conducted, in this same location 51 drivers donated blood in blood donation camp.
In some places local organizations like Indian Merchants chambers, lorry owners’ association, Rotary club etc., also extended their cooperation, locally many youth worked as volunteers. Also, Govt Officials, professionals like Mayor, Tahsildars, ACP etc., also visited appreciated and encouraged.
From BPCL HQ Mr. Suraj Shinde, Mr. Samrat Das and from AWARE Head Office Smt. Sanjana Reddy, Sri Rajyavardhan Reddy, Sri Suresh P.Babu, Sri. P. Varun and Sri. K. Venkat Reddy round the clock were in communication with organizers guided from time to time. Executive Director Sri. Suresh P .Babu himself reached Ernakulam (Kerala) and personally guided the conducting of the camp.
From the AWARE Health team Dr. Hari Ramesh, Mr. Koti Reddy, Dr.Neti Prabhakar, Dr.Shashanka, N. Venkanna, V.Nageswar Rao, Mohd Asif, Dr.Unni Krishnan, K. Srinivas, Nandini Reddy, Naga Lakshmi, Anna Kulal, Sundara Murthy Reddy, Jai Raj.