Genesis, Growth & Gratitude

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu

This simple statement has the most profound implications; it reiterates that true commitment is half the battle won. And when that first committed step enters the door of a visionary, magic happens. It unlocks the door to a new future and opens vistas hitherto unexplored.

As a Consultant in the Emergency and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of Apollo Children’s Hospitals, I have seen and treated children in the direst of circumstances. Unfortunate situations like accidents, drowning, juvenile diabetes, illnesses where treatment was delayed because of ignorance, teenage depression, attempted suicides etc. are the stark realities in our line of work.

“Dreams are not what you see in sleep, dreams are those that don’t let you sleep”. Dr Abdul Kalam

It dawned upon me that while we were doing our bit within the four walls of a hospital, there was so much more we could offer by reaching out to all children – especially students. Students spend most of their day at school or college; it seemed only logical that the first step would be to ensure that they are safe in their environment.

In my experience, I have seen that where health is concerned, “a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing” and I think most schools and colleges would consider it a great solace having a reputed medical partner clarifying on the Do’s and Don’ts of diseases and treatments.

“Some men see things as they are and ask why; others dream things that never were & ask Why Not “G.B .Shaw

Our visionary Chairman, Padma Vibhushan Dr Pratap C Reddy’s crusade against the burden of non- communicable diseases is common knowledge. It was his suggestion on World Trauma Day 2012 to make trauma care available, accessible and affordable to all children. The most logical extension was to establish a student health initiative to take care of the young. Our philosophy is clear: “every student and child deserves to shine”. With the support from every division of our integrated health care organization, dreams turned into reality. And this, dear readers, was the genesis of Apollo SHINE, a Student Health Initiative of Apollo Hospitals.

“If you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” – Paulo Coelho

It has been an incredible one and a half years journey since we commenced SHINE. What started as a spark of idea has exploded into a mighty flame and is still raging with tremendous energy. We have had an overwhelming response; till date we have enrolled 50 schools / colleges and one lakh plus students under the SHINE banner.

We have seen and interacted with many educational institutions and I am pleased to say they are doing a magnificent job molding and shaping our future citizens of India. Together we have now pledged to look after the health of their students, staff and even their campuses. The journey has just begun and we hope to touch many more lives nationwide.

Our SHINE Nursing Officers (fondly called akka or aunty) play a pivotal role in the First Aid Room forming a bridge between the Institution and Medical partners. The qualified Nurse Officer, equipped with the mantra of ‘tender loving care’, imparts timely and appropriate first aid when children report with injuries or illnesses. The Nursing officer is also trained to pick up soft signals of depression etc. and in such cases she raises the red flag for early intervention. She toils alone at site knowing full well that an entire team of enthusiastic Shine doctors are just a phone call away.

The Shine MediScreen: a special medical screening test for students, teachers and staff not only reassures them that they are healthy but also enables early detection of illnesses when they are much easier to treat. WHO defines Health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and this is also the emphasis of SHINE. Awareness talks and informal counselling by our psychologists offers personal support and prevents problems in attitudes and behavior. An additional cashless accident insurance from Apollo Munich is a security blanket that can be availed in times of need. And finally there is a Shine Card which enables all Shine students to avail of special privileges in Apollo Hospitals & Apollo Pharmacies.

“You can do what I cannot do , I can do what you cannot do . Together we can do great things.” – Mother Teresa

The strength of the team is each individual member and I take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude and sincere thanks to each and everyone in the Shine family. What truly inspires us to do more and make a difference is the trust and warmth from our educational heads, principals, teachers, parents and affection from the students. All this is possible in SHINE because of the ‘ONE APOLLO’ spirit, the support and encouragement from our management, our advisors and the entire team Apollo. the entire team Apollo.

Together Lets Keep India Healthy: We owe this to our children.

Jai Hind

Dr Indira Jayakumar
Director- Apollo SHINE Foundation
Senior Consultant-Emergency and Pediatric
ICU, Apollo Children’s Hospital, Chennai