Community healthcare -
At TAQA’s power plant in Neyveli, southern India, medical staff provide essential healthcare to employees and the rest of the community. Dr Sherlin Raj, who joined TAQA as a company doctor in 2011, leads the healthcare programme. She tells us what is involved in helping families living near the plant
Providing healthcare is a 24-hour operation. A team of three paramedics and I are available around the clock at the power plant in Neyveli in the Cuddalore district of the state of Tamil Nadu.
From our medical centre, we provide first aid and treatment for minor illnesses to TAQA’s employees and contractors. Importantly, this is free of charge.
On average, we attend to around 15 employees and contractors each day. And an hour every morning is dedicated to treating our employees’ families.
We have a range of medical equipment from an electrocardiography (ECG) machine to monitor heart conditions, to an audiometer to check hearing. We also stock a wide range of medicines for different ailments. If a serious illness is detected, we refer the patient to the closest hospital.
We also run medical clinics in the local community. We enlist several medical specialists, including cardiologists and neurologists, who offer local people health check-ups and medical consultations – again all free of charge. In the past approximately 150 people have attended the clinic.
People from our neighbouring communities do not always have the means to afford adequate, regular medical care. So extending our medical service to local people seemed the natural and responsible thing to do.
Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are unfortunately quite commonplace in this region of the world, so if they break out we hope to be prepared to distribute appropriate medicines. Also, we try to advise on preventive measures to stop the diseases occurring in the first place.
TAQA also has an ambulance at the power plant to respond to medical emergencies. Since the nearest hospital is 18 kilometres away, the ambulance has come to serve people in the local community too. We receive calls for assistance in various situations, such as to carry victims of road accidents, expectant mothers and patients with heart-attack symptoms to hospital. Since the ambulance service was introduced in 2002, local residents have used it nearly 240 times.
TAQA also holds blood donation drives, to maintain urgently required stocks, which have seen more than 100 people participate so far. We remain committed to providing this essential service and, in order to do so, we hope to have ongoing support from members of the community.
Healthcare for us is not just about providing medical treatment. My team regularly undertakes industrial hygiene studies at the power plant. This includes checks for local pollution levels and sanitation in the cafeteria. We also carry out tests on the underground drinking water.
At TAQA, we strive to conduct our business safely and sustainably. Our round-the-clock healthcare for workers at the Neyveli power plant, and their families and neighbors, is an important part of this. We work hard to keep each other safe and we try to contribute to the communities in which we are based.