‘Vayah Vikas’-a Mluru Nodal Centre ‘Empowering Seniors’ & A Dream Come True of Dr Amitha Marla Launched

Spread the love

‘Vayah Vikas’-a Nodal Centre in Mangaluru ‘Empowering Seniors For Active Ageing’ & A Dream Come True of Dr Amitha P Marla-the Director/ hospital Administrator at A J Hospital & Research Centre (AJHRC), Mangaluru was launched on Wednesday, 21 February 2024 at A J Hospital & Research Centre, Kuntikhan, Mangaluru

Mangaluru: During the launching ceremony of ‘VAYAH VIKAS’- a Nodal Centre in Mangaluru at AJHRC, aimed at to ‘EMPOWER SENIORS for ACTIVE AGEING’ Dr Prashanth Marla, the Medical Director at AJHRC said, ” My wife Dr Amitha Marla who has great love towards the seniors, and wanted to something unique and initiative for the Ageing Seniors, who many are left alone and neglected by the family members and children, wanted to build and strengthen an ecosystem that empowers Senior Citizens to; lead a productive and meaningful life, communicated with the leadership team of ‘Vayah Vikas’ based in Bengaluru to launch its Nodal Centre in Mangaluru at AJHRC- and thus making her longtime DREAM COME TRUE, and her efforts needs to be appreciated and complimented immensely”.

Following the registration of the participants, the programme began with a talk by Dr Namratha-the Central Assistant, AJHRC on “Diet -Lifestyle Management’, which was followed by the briefing/history of’ ‘Vayah Vikas’ by Shankar Ranganathan-Head of Operations, Karnataka chapter. The launch of ‘Vayah Vikas’ was done by lighting the traditional lamp by dignitaries on the dais, namely- Chief Guest G K Bhat-General Manager (Retd) Karnataka Bank, Mangaluru; Dr Alexander Thomas-Founding member of Yayah Vikas; Dr Prashanth Marla- Medical Director, AJHRC; Dr Amitha P Marla- Director, Medical Administration, AJHRC; Shankar Ranganathan; and Srinivas Madhava Rao- Advisor, Karnataka Chapter, Vayah Viks, among others.

In his inaugural address, Chief Guest G K Bhat, stated, “This is a very good initiative for the Seniors to keep them active and improve their lifestyle. and health. Even though NGOs and homes for the aged cater to the needs of the seniors, it is sad to note that many elders are neglected and abandoned by their family members or children, and are left alone to suffer. Projects like these help a lot for the present seniors, who keep them active and stress-free, which was lacking in the earlier years. We must develop skills for a better future life. Many people believe that once someone reaches senior age, they are often neglected in society, but this is no longer true”.

Bhat further said, “There is significant care being given to senior citizens nowadays, and our association is actively involved in this endeavour. The government is also implementing commendable initiatives in this regard. The number of senior citizens is increasing, and life expectancy has also risen significantly, with males living up to 83 years and females up to 87 years. Currently, senior citizens constitute around 7-8% of the population, and this percentage is expected to rise in the future. Decades due to joint families Seniors were taken care of and shown love by their siblings, but now many are neglected and uncared for. However, with the shift towards nuclear families and families residing abroad, this dynamic has changed”.

G K Bhat emphasized the importance of conducting cost-benefit analyses, noting that outflow claims tend to be higher. He assured that the association is fully prepared to assist senior citizens and stressed the need to promote initiatives similar to the quality healthcare available to senior citizens abroad. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Alexander Thomas, founding member of Vayah Vikas said, “In 2012, as CEO of a hospital in Bengaluru, I witnessed the challenges faced by senior citizens and felt compelled to take action. The plight of elders, often subjected to abuse with no recourse, deeply affected me, prompting me to initiate efforts to address this issue. Vayah Vikas assists in legal, financial, health, and insurance matters. We encourage discussions with insurance companies to arrange group insurance for senior citizens with customizable add-ons. In 2013, we established three national organizations”.

Dr Thoms further said, “However, our initial attempts to engage with authorities in Delhi were met with obstacles. Despite our desire to meet the Health Minister, we were only able to speak with a junior official after hours of waiting. Today, our organizations are respected nationwide, and our voices are heard. In countries like the US and Australia, retired persons’ associations wield considerable influence. With India’s ageing population projected to grow significantly in the next 20 years, similar empowerment for senior citizens is crucial”.

Dr Prashanth Marla, Medical Director, expressed, “This is not merely an old-age orphanage where children abandon their parents. We aim to create an environment where senior citizens can thrive. Nowadays, it’s common worldwide for senior citizens not to live with their children, many of whom reside abroad. Unfortunately, this trend has emerged due to the complexities of modern education, which has become a double-edged sword. Thus, our initiative is designed to cater to the needs of senior citizens”.

“Traditionally, people retire by the age of 60-65, assuming that their role is fulfilled, and a younger individual takes their place. However, this perspective is evolving. While today’s society may perceive us, the younger generation, as the primary decision-makers, this will not necessarily be the case in the future. We possess a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be invaluable in advising and mentoring the younger generation. Our team is committed to assisting all senior citizens, providing them with a platform to address and resolve their issues,” he said.

Director of Medical Administration Dr Amitha P Marla delivered a talk on taking forward the activities of Vayah Vikas in AJ Hospital and Mangaluru, and she also thanked all the persons who made this project possible, which will surely benefit the Seniors and Empower them for Active Ageing. The programme was compered by Sourabh K and Ms Neha D’Souza, both Final Year Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) at AJ Institute, and the promotion and arrangements were meticulously by Preetham Vas- the Marketing Manager, AJHRC.


Vayah Vikas is a not-for-profit organisation based in Bengaluru that is driven by the philosophy of “by the seniors, for the seniors, of the seniors”. The platform is focused on giving older adults charge of their wellness & well-being & opportunities for productive engagement so that they can build dignified lives. We aim to brighten your growing years, making it more fulfilling. Population ageing is being experienced in India and across the globe, and focused planning for a changing population structure is imperative. It calls for a full-fledged ecosystem in a symbiotic relationship with its senior members who receive, contribute and evolve the ecosystem.

A few years ago, the idea of setting up a senior citizens forum was mooted by Dr Alexander Thomas (Founder Member of AHPI) with various members of AHPI and finally culminated in the setting up of Vayah Vikas in April 2021, under the leadership of Kris Gopalakrishnan with six other eminent luminaries who agreed to be the founding members, who are dedicated and work for this cause. Vayah Vikas is a compassionate, senior-driven ecosystem of well-designed services and opportunities that enable seniors to lead independent lives with dignity and meaning.

Yayah Vikas’s dream is to evolve into a pan-India entity that will enable every Indian senior to live their life to their full potential. They aim to emerge as a strong voice mobilizing civil society and enabling policy changes to ensure the seniors’ well-being. They recognize and believe seniors as actively contributing members of society. Their Mission is to reach 1 million older adults in the next two years based on the membership model, and they believe a healthy society is incomplete without the wisdom of our elders. To bridge the gap, the Yayah Vikas team is looking forward to connecting with like-minded organizations on a partnership basis and government institutions to set up state-wise chapters enabling us to cater to every senior citizen of India.


Spread the love