Dubai-based entrepreneur Alisha Moopen and Ruma Devi join forces to launch a unique healthcare initiative

The two strong and powerful ladies have come together to bring in a wave of power to equip, enable and empower women at the rural level

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Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Thu 11 Aug 2022, 6:09 PM

What can you expect when two global icons — Alisha Moopen and Ruma Devi — both from diverse cultures and academic backgrounds, decide to join hands for a common mission of women empowerment? The answer is more power to women!

Dubai-based Alisha is a chartered accountant from the ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) and worked earlier with Ernst & Young. She graduated from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with distinction in Finance & Accounting. Ruma Devi is a school dropout but has received an honourary Ph.D. from Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phule University in Jaipur.

Alisha’s philosophy in life is ‘Healthiness is Happiness’. She wants to enable quality healthcare across the globe, treating people with compassion, precision, and excellence. She is dedicated to the cause of women’s empowerment and mental health. She believes in the diversity of the workforce, and the strength in differences and focuses on removing the glass ceilings at work for women. Ruma is currently supporting 30,000 women across 150 villages through her work.

Alisha takes on challenges in her swanky boardroom, while Ruma Devi fights her battles in villages by helping empower other women. A common chord that bonds these women is the upliftment of other women and creating a better environment for future generations.

Ruma Devi is currently on a trip to the US — visiting Las Vegas, New Jersey, and Washington and representing India at Magic Trade Show — and Alisha is a global icon in the world of business with recognition from the World Economic Forum and other leading institutions.

How will synergy between these two women translate into the growth and development of women at the rural level? “Women empowerment is evolving and is poised to see new heights as we strive forward in our aspirations to make this world a better place,” said Moopen in an interview with wknd.

Moopen — mother to three children — firmly believes that the right skills and support uplifts homes, society, state, and economy, and the UAE is a classic example of how the nation is at the forefront to launch policies that support women entrepreneurs. The recent policy decision to have women in senior positions at the corporate level was proof that women are at the helm of affairs and running businesses.

The two strong and powerful ladies have come together to bring in a wave of power to equip, enable and empower women at the rural level.

In a recent development, Alisha Moopen, deputy managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, and India’s well-known rural activist Ruma Devi, have jointly launched ‘Mission Barmer 2022’, in Rajasthan, India.

Moopen had taken up this project to partner with Ruma Devi on the occasion of International Women’s Day in March 2022. The collaboration sought to improve access to primary healthcare services for the rural population. Aster Volunteers Mobile Medical Clinic is the first step to bringing the partnership to life.

Mission Barmer 2022

Aster DM Foundation has launched Aster Volunteers Mobile Medical Clinic, the first initiative under Mission Barmer 2022. This project has been undertaken in collaboration with the Ruma Devi Foundation and the Human Welfare Foundation, in the village of Barmer in Rajasthan, India.

Aster Volunteers, in its effort to help people in the remote and rural areas of North India, started with the launch of three mobile medical units in Kaithal (Haryana), Railmagra and Barmer (Rajasthan) and a six-day free medical screening camp for the women and children from the tribal region of Barmer and neighbouring villages in Rajasthan. Through the six-day programme, the units have impacted more than 1,500 lives and educated them on personal hygiene, common health issues and sanitisation.

Talking about the initiative, Moopen said: “Aster DM Healthcare is very happy to have initiated a long-term collaboration with the prestigious Gramin Vikas Evam Chetna Sansthan founded by the well-known activist and social worker, Ruma Devi. Rural women experience poorer health outcomes and have less access to health care than urban women, due to societal constraints. Many rural areas have limited numbers of health care providers, especially women’s health providers. Hence, medical camps such as these are expected to play a vital role in establishing a positive framework for rural women to take initiative in attending to the healthcare requirements of their families and most importantly, of themselves. This project will be aligned with several other women empowerment initiatives that Aster proposes to launch.”

As part of Mission Barmer 2022, a team of volunteer doctors — Obstetrics & Gynecology specialists from Aster Hospitals Clinics and Pharmacies, Dubai; Senior Paediatric Consultants from Aster CMI Bengaluru; Paediatric Cardiac Surgeons from Aster Medcity, Kochi, and a team of Aster Volunteers have been camping in Barmer along with local Volunteers. They have been screening women and children in Barmer district since July 23, 2022. The ongoing mission will also introduce several skill development initiatives that will continue for the rest of the year.

Ruma Devi, recipient of Nari Shakti Puraskar, the highest civilian honour for women in India, founder of Ruma Devi Foundation and a resident of Barmer, inaugurated Mission Barmer 2022.

Alongside the launch of Mission Barmer 2022, Aster Volunteers also unveiled three mobile medical units for the benefit of the rural populace in Kaithal and Railmagra with support from Ashok Leyland, Hinduja Foundation and Roots Foundation.

Dr Azad Moopen, Founder Chairman and Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare, said: “Mission Barmer 2022 was conceived to meet the need identified in the marginalised section of rural women. The goal is to spread awareness among rural women in their familiar environment, where they feel secure to participate. We hope this initiative will help increase healthcare awareness among the rural womenfolk, which will in turn impact the women. Women’s education and empowerment is recognised to be the single most important tool for health and well-being of the family, especially children.”

Mission Barmer 2022 is an ongoing engagement, which shall benefit a larger group of people at the grassroot level with free medical intervention in the rural areas of Rajasthan. Aster DM Foundation plans to depute more medical volunteers through its flagship volunteering initiative ‘Aster Volunteers’, a network of 45,000 plus volunteers registered on a credible health platform in India and in the GCC.

During the medical camp, any child who will need further investigation or require any special surgery shall be directed to Aster Medcity Kochi under the aegis of Aster DM Foundation. After the mega medical camp, on-ground partners, such as the Human Welfare Foundation and the Ruma Devi Foundation, shall continue to contribute to Mission Barmer 2022 with clinical and skill missions in partnership with Aster Volunteers.

Ruma Devi added: “I would like to place on record my extreme appreciation of this initiative launched by Aster DM Healthcare and Aster Volunteers. We are very happy and fortunate that Aster has taken up this mission focused on the empowerment of rural women and contribute its resources to promote the welfare of this neglected segment of the population.”

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