Swasth Foundation, India
Shreya Mehta on June 11, 2018 in Health & Sanitation
Savitri wasn’t able to eat and enjoy corn and walnuts with her daughter for almost four to six months. This was because she had lots of pain in her teeth and not enough money to spend on herself. She had consulted a private doctor once and he was asking her for a large sum of money, something that she couldn’t afford. After her friend informed her about Swasth Foundation, she decided to go for consultation. At very affordable price her teeth were set at the Center and today she is content. Now she doesn’t have to worry about eating hard things, she is happy!
With the success rate of over 92% satisfied patients, the Swasth Foundation continues to serve over 85 million people who live in low income housing areas of Mumbai. The Swasth Foundation has over 14 Swasth India Medical Centers catering to various healthcare and wellness needs of people. It was established in 2008 by two batchmates of IIT, Ankur Pegu and Sundeep Kapila with the goal “to ensure full-access, high-quality and affordable healthcare services to the urban poor”.
The Swasth India Medical Center primarily provides general medicine services, day care procedures, dentist consultations and treatments, diagnostics and medicines to its patients. Anyone who wants to avail the facility needs to just visit any one Medical Center and get a card made free of cost. Every card gives the patient a unique identification that stores all important information and medical history. Once this card is made, the patient can visit any of these Centers at the time of distress and it is rest assured that everything will be taken care of.
Sundeep Kapila, the CEO and co-founder of Swasth Foundation says that there are two reasons the urban poor prefer to consult in the Swasth Medical Centers. Firstly, all the services, consultations and tests are available under the same roof and therefore the patient doesn’t have to worry at all about going off to various places for various services. Secondly, all medicines prescribed here are available at almost 50% discount. Unlike other health centers, the medicines here are not available in loose but are sold in strip packs. All medicines are directly bought from branded companies like Sandoz, Zydus Cadila and Abbott, the costs are almost half.
A well-qualified unit of doctors and dentists are available for 8 hours a day in two shifts at all Centers. Basic diagnostic tests like Urine test, Sugar test, tests for Malaria are carried out at the Center’s Central Laboratory at affordable rates. The doctors and pathologists use latest technology tools to attend to patients at these Centers. For instance, an infrared thermometer is used to collect the temperature as the chances of contamination with virus or any other communicable disease is the least when there is no touch involved. The test for Malaria is carried out at all centers using WHO approved strip that reflects the results in just 5 minutes which makes it very convenient for treatment.
The sample for all tests are collected and the reports for the same are handed over at the Centers, making it a hassle-free visit for the patients. However, for any radiology related tests, the patient is referred to a network of nearby diagnostic center where the patients can avail a discount using his Swasth Medical Card. Community-centric value-based services are provided at all Swasth Centers and their 24x7 helpline and application.
Along with serving all the patients at their Centers, they also conduct various Community outreach programs and wellness camps. The Foundation identifies and trains women health workers who spread awareness about the health Centers and educate people about suitable health practices. They also conduct Swasth Melas in which a team of doctors, optometrists, lab technicians and assistants visit assessible and well known places in slums, providing free checkups, hypertension detection, diabetes detection, anemia detection and eye checkups for free.
If necessary, medicines are provided at the cost of rupees 20 per prescription and over-the-counter dispensable drugs are available at 50% discount at these Melas. The foundation also conducts camps at schools so as to spread awareness about various diseases and nutritional deficiencies.
The organization is also committed to encourage more women and girls towards women empowerment and perhaps that is why about 70% workforce in their organization are women. Swasth Foundation provides continuous training and support to all their staff regarding medical and IT skills necessary and conducts tests for them at regular intervals to access their learning and understanding of the services and facilities.
Sundeep Kapila says, “As per UN-HABITAT, slum population in India is expected to double to 200 million by 2026. Inequity in health outcomes, and the severely inadequate public health infrastructure make health of the urban poor, a key priority for us. With 80% of health expenditure in India being out-of-pocket, “health shocks” are the single biggest cause of impoverishment in India. As per WHO, every year, 32 million Indians go from above poverty to below poverty line due to a health event in the family. Our goal is to ensure access to affordable and quality health services to low income households in order to prevent such health events which translate to impoverishment…”.
Spreading happiness with health, the Swasth Foundation today brings fair, honest, quality yet affordable healthcare and wellness services to the urban poor of Mumbai. By serving millions of poor slum dwellers and gaining their trust, the Swasth Foundation has become a revered center for many.
To read more about the inspirational work they are doing, visit Swasth Foundation today!