Ford Motor company launched its first SUMURR (Sustainable Urban Mobility with Uncompromised Rural Reach) pilot project with the Tamil Nadu Directorate of Public Health, Hand in Hand India, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the U.S. (United States) Department of State. As a part of this launch, a Ford SUV (sport utility vehicle) service was initiated in the Kalrayan Hills Block of Villupuram District in Tamil Nadu. Stocked with medicines, the luxury vehicle has been used to provide villagers in the remote areas of the region access to basic health care.
SUMURR is a global private-public partnership by Ford Motor Company to explore ways in which Ford can use its vehicles to support underserved rural communities bridge the mobility gap and provide them with economic opportunities. The services, that include reaching basic health care services to such communities, will also take doctors to the doorsteps of pregnant women in the high-risk category to help reduce maternal and infant mortality. The Health Pillar of Hand in Hand India has trained Village Health Nurses, ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) workers and Anganwadi (government-run day-care centre for women and children) workers so as to ensure the successful implementation of this project.
Launched in mid-June, the black Ford Endeavour SUV has traversed 25 remote villages in the Kalrayan Hills so far. The first successful service rendered was the transportation of a pregnant woman from a very remote village by name Pachery to the nearest Public Health Centre that was almost 30 kilometres away. This village could not be accessed even by the government-run ambulance service (108). A high-end vehicle, with automatic gear, GPS (Global Positioning System) facility and a 4-wheel drive option, this vehicle is ideal to traverse rough terrains and reach villages with extremely poor access.