Lifeline Express of Impact India Foundation: A Profile


Impact India Foundation (IIF), an International Initiative Against Avoidable Disablement established through a United Nations’ General Assembly Resolution, was launched by the Government of India on 2nd October 1983. Its aim is to act in partnership with the Government as a catalyst bringing together the corporate sector, Non Profit Organisations, professionals and the community in mass health projects of National priority, using existing delivery systems and available infrastructure. Today, Impact is active in fourteen countries under the banner of the International Federation of Impact Organisations (IFIO).

IIF’s vision is to catalyse  healthcare systems to make India disability-free by developing strong and replicable healthcare models through partnerships to reach India’s under-served population. The Lifeline Express (LLE): This has been ably demonstrated by the Indian Railways’ partnership with IIF which has enabled the Lifeline Express – the World’s First Seven-Coach Hospital Train donated by the Indian Railways – to conduct more than 1.43 lakh surgeries for the rural poor and medically benefit over one million patients – all free of cost – in the remote, Tribal and Naxalite-prone areas of our country: 199 projects conducted across 135 Districts in 20 States of the country, over 27 years.

The Lifeline Express  has so far provided medical services made possible by the “donated” services of about 200,000 medical professionals from India and abroad.  About ten Lifeline Express projects are held at remote railway stations every year; each halt for a period of a month to provide free-of-cost corrective surgeries: Cataracts, Hearing impairment, Cleft Lips & Post-Burn contractures, Post contracture releases of Polio, and Cerebral Palsy cases, Club Foot, the treatment of Epilepsy & Dental problems, as well as, the recently introduced Oral, Breast & Cervical Cancer, Prevention of Stroke, Family Planning & Health services. About 8000 persons benefit at each location. The Lifeline Express is a recipient of numerous accolades including the United Nations’ Grand Award for Excellence in Public Service and has been honoured by the Government of India with the release of a National Postage stamp. This programme has been replicated by four Lifeline Express trains in China, two in South Africa and Riverboat hospitals in Bangladesh and Cambodia.

1. BBC’s film on the Lifeline Express (LLE): “The Magic Train” v=TNqjOTx6nR0 . The film documents the 101st LLE project held at Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, in 2008 which medically served 6263 disabled rural poor persons.
2. BBC’s  ten-minute film on the Lifeline Express telecast in 2016:
3. Reuters news coverage of the Lifeline Express:
4.  SBS Australia TV telecast a film on August 28, 2018, on the LLE which covered the 193rd Lifeline Express at Latur, Maharashtra in June 2018 benefitting 10207 patients. Please click  on the You Tube link (or copy and paste on your browser window):
This film was re-telecast on Al Jazeera TV on October 21st evening.

The Community Health Initiative (CHI) – a sustainable, replicable model in partnership with the Government covering two million Tribals in rural Maharashtra – achieved, in its first phase (2005 to 2012), 72% reduction in disability in Thane District, using existing infrastructure and available delivery systems for sustainability. Please view “Rainbow of Hope”:
The programme has evolved into a well-integrated set of preventive interventions aimed at the holistic improvement of the health of the community, with specific focus on Reproductive, Maternal, Neo Natal and Child Health + Adolescent (RMNCH+A). The CHI’s current model focuses on Adolescent girls to break the cycle of malnutrition at the individual and inter-generational levels. Investing in their nutrition is a prerequisite to ensure adequate returns on investments made in their empowerment, education, livelihoods and as potential mothers. There are 113 million adolescent girls in India; about 56% of them are anaemic.
Another intervention is Maternal Nutrition Supplementation: Combined with Nutrition Education, Diet Supplementation and Counseling on Ante & Post Natal Care, the project monitors and improves outcomes of women’s pregnancy and lactation periods and their infants’ progress. Yet another project aims to strengthen the Government’s Anganwadi (Day Care Centre) systems to ensure children aged 0-5 years and mothers are malnutrition-free.