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Nebuliser to Wheelchair, This Initiative Rents Out Pre-Loved Medical Equipment for Free

Bengaluru's Ajayan Namminipurthu started Sanathya Foundation to provide free medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and nebulisers, to people who cannot afford to buy new ones.

Nebuliser to Wheelchair, This Initiative Rents Out Pre-Loved Medical Equipment for Free

One of the aspects that often astonishes us as we step into adulthood and take on the responsibility of paying our own bills is the expense of medical facilities. Even a minor infection, coupled with a visit to a physician, can significantly dent your wallet. Not to mention the financial burden if you encounter a more serious injury.

Often, after recovering from an injury, we find medical equipment like wheelchairs, walking sticks, and medical beds lying unused in our homes.

Recognising that such items could be valuable to those who cannot afford new equipment, Ajayan Namminipurthu, based in Bengaluru, initiated a non-profit organisation called Sanathya Foundation, which collects gently used items from donors and provides them for free to individuals in need.

“The demand for such equipment is not limited to the elderly; anyone might require them. My foundation aims to assist individuals who cannot afford these items such as nebulisers, walkers, beds, and I ship the equipment to them without any cost,” he tells The Better India adding that his foundation has helped over 85 people so far.

Will to do something for the society

Born and raised in Kerala, Ajayan relocated to Bengaluru in 1999 in pursuit of employment.

“I came to the city for a job and instantly fell in love with it. The climate and the rich culture motivated me to establish a life here. I’ve been working in the corporate sector ever since, building a home and a life,” he shares.

While building his life in the city, there came a point when Ajayan desired to contribute to society by going beyond the routine. “Sooner or later, everyone experiences the urge to do something more meaningful. After working for numerous years, I felt the need to make a positive impact on society. This idea, once planted, lingered with me for a long time,” he reflects.

In 2016, he decided to make a New Year resolution to serve society. “I happened to visit an orphanage located on Mysore Road. Despite being well-run, it lacked several amenities, and there were a significant number of children. When I visited in January, considering the climate in Bangalore and other parts of the area, I noticed the children were sleeping on the floor.”

Sanathya Foundation provides free medical equipment to people in need for free.
Sanathya Foundation provides free medical equipment to people in need for free. Picture credit: Ajayan

He adds that witnessing the children sleeping on the floor touched his heart, prompting him to take action and organise beds for them.

“I realised that providing the beds would be a significant investment for me alone. This led me to turn to Facebook in search of more people willing to participate. I was pleasantly surprised to find that many individuals were eager to contribute,” he shares.

The entire experience served as inspiration for him to do more in the future. “I yearned to engage in more activities like this,” he says.

The turning point

While Ajayan kept an eye on such opportunities, it was his father’s illness that made him think of establishing the Sanathya Foundation.

“In 2015, my father had a stroke in Kerala, so I brought him here. During his recovery, he experienced another fall, resulting in a broken thigh. This incident required us to admit him to the hospital once again, where he underwent surgery. Following the surgical procedure, we had to purchase a medical bed as he was on complete bed rest,” he says.

Ajayan’s father remained bedridden for several weeks, undergoing physiotherapy and various treatments. “Gradually, his condition improved, allowing him to transition to a wheelchair. After about a month, he progressed to using a walker and eventually a walking stick,” he shares.

He adds, “While he used the walking stick until the end, the other equipment became redundant. It’s impractical to keep a large bed at home when it’s no longer needed.”

Ajayan also realised that the cost of these items was quite expensive and might be unaffordable to many. “I approached the sellers of these types of equipment and inquired whether they would take them back or if there was someone else in need. Surprisingly, they declined, suggesting I either give them to a scrap collector or to my local newspaper vendor, who could sell them.”

Ajayan did not want to sell the items to a scrap collector and decided to think of some other way. “While my initial plan was to establish a website for people to donate and acquire items based on their needs, funding became a hurdle. Fortunately, the company where I work generously provided me with a storage space. So I decided to start without a fixed website,” he explains.

Ajayan Namminipurthu, the founder of Sanathya Foundation
Ajayan Namminipurthu, the founder of Sanathya Foundation. Picture credit: Ajayan

He took the initiative online and shared the idea on platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, requesting donations. He also made it known that his father’s wheelchair was available for anyone in need, free of charge.

“The conditions for loaning the equipment were simple — take good care of them, use them, and return them when not needed. The response was overwhelming, revealing a significant demand for these items and a willingness among people to donate,” he notes.

In 2017, he laid the foundation for the Sanathya Foundation and has since assisted over 85 people in need, providing items free of charge.

Explaining the organisation’s operation, he says, “People approach me with requests on social media platforms. For instance, if someone needs a wheelchair, I first check my storage. If it’s not available, I post the request on my Facebook page. Once the wheelchair is obtained, I personally collect and deliver it to the person in need.”

“I keep track of where these items go and ensure they are returned on time. All deliveries and pickups are provided at no cost,” he adds.

Ajayan also recognises that beyond the practical need to dispose of these items, many donors are emotionally attached to them. “Often, people are sentimental about these things, as they might be the last items used by their parents, etc. So, the organisation becomes a place where they donate, knowing it will assist someone in need,” he shares.

Among the 85 individuals, Ajayan has assisted so far, Prashant from Kolar, Karnataka, is one of them. The 30-year-old experienced a tragic accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury. “At the time of the accident, the injury wasn’t very severe, but due to the lack of a proper bed, it worsened. My family and I couldn’t afford the necessary care.”

The foundation has helped over 85 people so far.
The foundation has helped over 85 people so far. Picture credit: Ajayan

“Over time, the doctor advised me to have a recliner bed and use a wheelchair at all costs. That’s when I discovered Ajayan sir’s foundation on Google while searching for beds. The bed and wheelchair were delivered to my doorstep at no cost at all. I have been using them for the past four months, and my condition is improving,” he says.

Prashant emphasises that foundations like Ajayan’s are crucial to ensure everyone receives the best healthcare despite their circumstances.

While Ajayan acknowledges that his organisation may be small, he values the significant impact it has on people’s lives. “There are many individuals who cannot afford items such as recliner beds for themselves or their loved ones. Through my organisation, I aim to bridge this gap and ensure they receive the best medical care they deserve.”

If you wish to donate or request any medical equipment, contact Ajayan at 96116 15555.

(Edited by Pranita Bhat)

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