22 Apr Response to COVID-19 from Impact Investment Holdings Social Enterprises
As the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to uncertain times, in certain pockets we see the human spirit fighting it hard. In this post, we profile the initiatives taken by three business ventures from our investment portfolio, which have put a firm step forward in combating the changes resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.
Hasiru Dala Supports Waste Pickers with Care Kits
Hasiru Dala Innovations is a waste management company providing end-to-end waste management solutions in Bangalore, India. Hasiru Dala Foundation, a partner of Hasiru Dala Innovations, focuses on social justice and policy advocacy for waste pickers and solid waste management.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Hasiru Dala, led by co-founder Nalini Shekar stepped up on war footing to provide support to waste pickers affected by the lockdown in India. Starting with the aim of supporting 400 families from the community, they eventually scaled up and provided 11,001 care kits to waste picker families in Tumkur, Hubli, Chikballapur, and Bengaluru since March 24th. These care kits consist of rice, dal, spices, sugar and soap, and the quantities are planned to last each family for four weeks.
Waste pickers are among the most marginalised groups in the informal sector, but women wastepickers are even more vulnerable, due to gender and traditional oppressions that occur amongst most societies. Hasiru Dala keeps this in mind while we were distributing care kits. Of the families that Hasiru Dala reached out to, 584 included women waste pickers over 50 years of age, 483 reached women waste pickers who are single parents, 453 reached pregnant women or lactating mothers, and 18 included women waste pickers diagnosed with serious/long term illnesses.
Additionally, Nalini Shekar also asks a pertinent question related to the nature of the work involved for waste pickers – “If so many people are throwing away masks, who is picking it up”. Sanitation work is an essential service and waste workers are on the frontline of offering this service during these uncertain times. Most waste pickers in India carry the waste without any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including gloves and masks, which potentially puts them directly at risk of infection.
Hasiru Dala has provided guidelines that insist that everyone should segregate their household waste, wrapping masks, gloves, and other PPE separately in non-chlorinated bags.
While the care kits donation drive continues for vulnerable families, the Hasiru Dala team are now procuring items to support children’s nutrition and personal hygiene.
Karma Healthcare moves to Teleconsultation
Karma Healthcare is an impact driven, award winning healthcare start-up, working towards its mission to provide equitable access to quality primary healthcare. It operates 20+ nurse-assisted clinics in rural areas of Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh offering primary care services and has touched over 1,00,000 lives. They have now re-engineered their primary care approach to serve the most marginalised and vulnerable among those left behind in the rural communities that they serve.
Karma has started offering direct teleconsultation with a doctor through a weblink over a smartphone or laptop. Patients all over can connect with their
doctors through their helpline number to seek consultations. Doctors are also proactive in detecting COVID-19 symptoms, if any, in patients through a preliminary check and re-directing them to authorized government facilities. This could be a vital service to people everywhere, especially to the most vulnerable like the elderly.
Kajal Lath, CFO of Karma Healthcare, in a Linkedin post says, “Within 4 days of the launch of the services, our team has counseled more than 200 people, enabled consultations of about 100 patients and referred 4 COVID-19 suspect cases to local government facilities.”
ERC Eye Care Educates People
ERC Eye Care provides quality eye care at affordable costs through its hub hospitals in North East India. So far, it has provided services to 4 lakh patients, delivered 1.50 lakh eye glasses and done 1,00,000 cataract surgeries.
Responding to the current situation, all their hospitals continue to stay open with staff working on a rotation basis and doctors remaining on a call. They have also switched to offering telemedicine, where they see 4-5 patients in each of the hub hospitals and provide 15-20 consultations via telemedicine every day. To support their staff better, they are providing pick up and drop facilities for all employees.
Not forgetting their social responsibility, ERC Eye Care is leveraging their call center to educate past patients about COVID-19 symptoms, physical distancing and handwashing. They have called 3000 families so far, reaching out to 12,000 people. “Our call center is now open on all days from 9 AM- 6 PM to cater to any query”, says Dr. Parveez Ubed, founder, ERC Eye Care.
ERC Eye Care’s Facebook page is regularly updated with the latest news from its end.
We are currently at a time where we have to actively contribute towards supporting one another to minimise the effects of the isolation and lockdown. Do let us know in the comments about other organisations who are doing their bit to combat the effects of COVID-19 to build a better society.