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View the latest Annual Report 2020-2021

View the latest Annual Report 2020-2021

Siddharth

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world and affected everyone’s life, leaving the marginalised more helpless than ever. Regardless of that, our team and partners continued working in the most adverse situations – supporting state governments, urban and rural communities with both transformational interventions in the areas of education, livelihood, and disability as well as much needed healthcare and COVID support throughout the year. The report presents an overview of the work done during this year and underlines the national-level initiatives of the foundation.

Primary Healthcare Mobile Medical Units

Primary Healthcare Mobile Medical Units

Siddharth

Healthcare in India is characterised by increasing out of pocket expenses and increasing chronic disease prevalence despite continued efforts to improve access and quality of healthcare. The burden of certain diseases and disabilities fall disproportionately on weaker sections, contributing to the health disparities seen among some sections in our society.

Moreover, access to healthcare services in India is significantly weighted to urban areas. In a country where most of our population lives in rural areas, this means that much of our population is significantly underserved when it comes to even primary healthcare.

Without exploring and implementing new models for meeting the population’s health needs, the existing healthcare system will continue to struggle in delivering adequate and equitable health services. Moreover, access to health care and equitable distribution of health services are the fundamental requirements for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the targets set under the National Health Mission (NHM).

In recent times, Mobile Medical Units (MMUs) are believed to be an innovative model of healthcare delivery that could help alleviate health disparities in vulnerable populations and individuals with chronic diseases. Indeed, some studies have concluded that MMUs are particularly impactful in the following contexts: offering urgent care, providing preventative health screenings, and initiating chronic disease management. By opening their doors directly into communities and leveraging existing community assets, MMUs can offer tailored, high-impact and affordable health care that responds dynamically to the community’s evolving needs.

The Hans Foundation’s Mobile Medical Units Program strives to reach out to the most underdeveloped and inaccessible areas of the country to provide quality primary healthcare, referral services as well increase awareness and drive behaviour change for healthier communities. Currently we are operating MMUs in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, with plans to expand in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland in the near future.

Each MMU is led by a qualified medical MBBS doctor and supported by a qualified nurse, a pharmacist, a lab technician, and a driver. In addition, there is a Health Worker situated at the village level (1 Health Worker for 2 villages).

Mental Health & Primary Healthcare for School Children

Mental Health & Primary Healthcare for School Children

Siddharth

The Hans Foundation has partnered with The Government of NCT of Delhi in launching a first of its kind initiative – providing primary health care and mental health services through School Health Clinics in schools under the Directorate of Education, GNCTD.

Children have been repeatedly recognised as a vulnerable group by social scientists- making intervention at a primary level crucial. The health concerns of school children are mainly in the categories of malnutrition, infectious diseases, intestinal parasites, diseases of skin, eye, ear, dental caries etc. Most of these health situations can be handled at the level of a primary care OPD.

Moreover, rising mental health concerns among school going adolescents is widely spoken about but they largely go undiagnosed in the present health infrastructure present in schools. According to the WHO report, India tops the list of countries with the greatest burden of mental and behavioural disorders and nearly half of all mental health problems originate before the age of 15. A study conducted by Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) on 225 government schools found out that 36% of the students who dropped out consumed a substance. 12-13% of school students suffer from emotional, behavioural and learning problems. Suicide rates among children are perilously rising. A 2015 Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) study found that the mean age of street children in Delhi taking drugs was about 13 years with the mean initiation age being as low as 9 years!

As such working providing primary healthcare to children must go hand-in-hand with provision of mental health services as well. Health is a not merely absence of any disease or infirmity but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Holistic healthcare of children needs equal focus on physical as well as mental health.

With School Health Clinics, we seek to pair the interventions of diagnosis, treatment and prevention related to physical and mental health concerns of the children. Regular health check-ups and tests can help find health issues before they start and help find problems early where the chances for treatment and cure are better. Therefore, providing the right health services, screenings and treatments for children in schools will help them have a healthier life.

Each clinic will have one Psychologist, one ANM (Nursing Officer) and one Multi-Task Worker along with one Doctor (MBBS) for a cluster of five schools, who will visit each of these five schools once-a-week on rotational basis. These clinics will start functioning in 15 schools, as a pilot project.

Protecting the Forests of Uttarakhand from Forest Fires

Protecting the Forests of Uttarakhand from Forest Fires

Siddharth

Almost 71 per cent of Uttarakhand’s total geographical area is covered in forests. 12 percent of its total geographical area is part of protected regions with 6 National Parks, 7 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 4 Conservation and 1 Biosphere Reserve area. Other than the environmental aspect, the forest contributes significantly in the state’s revenue due to forest produce and tourism.

Garhwal region is one of the most botanically diverse areas of the Indian Himalaya. However, due to rampant wildfires, certain areas of the hill slopes are now devoid of vegetation, contributing to the loss of biodiversity and subsequent erosion of topsoil incurring both environmental and social costs with repercussions both in the mountains and the adjoining plain eco-systems.

Since 2000, forest fires have affected over 48,000 hectares of the state. Uncontrolled fires contributed heavily to the depletion and exhaustion of natural forests, biodiversity, soil fertility and sustainable forest-based production. They usually produce large tracts of eroded and weed infested lands, altering ecosystems, disturbs and destroys fauna and several smaller animal habitats. Due to this phenomenon climate change in the form of erratic rainfall or reduced precipitation or heavy rainfall increased temperatures in the mountain. It has a direct and indirect adverse impact on agriculture, forests and livelihoods of the people.

While there is not much substantiated research for exact causes behind forest fires, it is commonly considered to be caused by a combination of Environmental and Anthropological reasons.

The forest department cites four causes of wildfires in the state– deliberate fires by locals, carelessness, farming-related activities and natural reasons. According to a government report, locals set forests on fire for growth of good quality grass, to cover up illegal cutting of trees, for poaching and sometimes to even take revenge from somebody including government employees.

The Hans Foundation ​​is planning a two years pilot program, designed to alleviate this problem by sustainably reducing the incidence of forest fires in the targeted area of Garhwal by leveraging involvement of the local community.

Management of forest fires involves four broad components- Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. Each component can have multiple strategies. The THF project will be working on Mitigation and Preparedness to complement the forest department’s work on Recovery.

Extending a helping hand

Extending a helping hand

Siddharth

Disasters lead to immediate physical injuries and loss but also impact victims’ attitudes, communities, and local economies potentially for decades to come. In such difficult times, a quick response is needed to try and save lives. THF along with its partners across India has always worked to provide timely relief to the affected people during adversity.

COVID-19 was a disaster of epic proportions and in the COVID-19 crisis food security, public health, and employment and labour issues, in particular workers’ health and safety converged. Unquestionably, humankind has gone through a new and unprecedented experience. THF has led the way in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Along with its partners, THF conducted relief support drives for those affected and also helped the hospitals and the front line workers.

In order to combat the increasing number of COVID patients, The Hans Foundation supported the setting up of quarantine centres that could accommodate up to 10,000 people. For these quarantine centres 6,000 beddings, mosquito nets, electric fans and other amenities were also provided. This support was extended to a total of 135 quarantine centres in Uttarakhand. Besides this, the foundation assisted various state governments by providing a total number of 2,650 Oxygen concentrators, 5200 medical bedding sets and 1000 Oxygen flowmeters to Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Odisha.

The Hans Foundation is also working to set up Oxygen plants in UP, Jharkhand and Nagaland in collaboration with the governments, to strengthen the medical infrastructure in these states.