It all started when Neeta (my mother) and I read an article in the Guardian about a family in Dhaka, where a father was pleading with the Bangladeshi government for mercy killing for three of his children. They were suffering from Muscular Dystrophy a rare neurological condition in which your muscles degenerate by your early twenties, and the family had no funds to help them improve any longer. Something moved within us. Thus, we decided to work closely with different doctors, therapists, health authorities and the Ministry of External Affairs India to create value in the lives of special needs children and help people on their wellness journey.
My mother Neeta worked at different places for 14 years, though she was satisfied with her accomplishments, she wanted to impact the lives of others in a meaningful way. She found her calling in working for children with special needs. Thus Meditourz India’s first Medical and Wellness Tourism Co was born in 2017. We endeavour to give people access to the best doctors, therapies and wellness retreats and ensure a hassle-free experience that requires no form of surgery or downtime.
Starting in 2017 we have had a fair share of challenges, but we have hustled our way through it. Be it the lack of awareness since we were the first movers in the industry, no formal medical education, understanding varied cultures and languages or getting on-board the right resources and very recently the pandemic affecting the travel and tourism industry – it sure has been a struggle.
One of our patients moved from a special needs school to a regular school. This was such a surreal feeling to know that something we do has the ability to impact someone’s life, so deeply. Another autistic patient of ours did so well that he discovered a new skill of drawing animated figures. He is now taking it up as a course to enhance his skill
For all the patients, we work with we have a department that checks on the financial health of our patients. If we feel some people cannot afford the treatment we work closely with NGO’s in their home country to raise funds.
Helping Children with Autism: How Do We Work?
In the case of children with autism we work very closely with various parents, special needs schools, centres, therapists and health ministries nationally and internationally to see what best we can do to make a difference via treatment they need, therapies to support these treatments, nutrition, physical activities and more.
The Mother-Daughter Bond To Being Great Founders
This venture has opened my eyes wide. Earlier, I took my mum Neeta for granted, but I now understand her better than before and that has made my bond with her stronger. But having said all that, she also gives me the space and independence which she thinks is very important and necessary for a healthy personal and professional relationship.
My mum always wanted me to be an independent child and grow up in an environment seeing them balance both work and home. She believed that nothing needs to be given up neither family nor work as long as everything is managed well.
I hold a Master’s Degree in Marketing, Strategy and Innovations from Cass Business School, City University of London. A lot of social work goes hand in hand with the medical world, hence I forayed into the medical world with a stint at Johnson & Johnson Medical India. After giving about three years to the corporate world I decided to go to London for my further studies. On returning I turned down my dream job at one of the world’s biggest FMCG companies. Because I knew that I had found my calling in helping individuals in their health journey.
The Way Ahead
Even if we have great policies individuals need to be ready and convinced that their health takes priority. Unfortunately, it took a pandemic for people and governments to realise that we need to be more conscious and have great infrastructure to support our health needs, may that be mental or physical health. But on the bright side, everyone has become cognizant of how health takes priority over everything else.
Neeta Gajaria and Aashnee Gajaria are directors and founding members of Meditourz Health Services. The views expressed are the author’s own.