“Health-sector from Government and global funders are dwindling, CSR funding may help”.
With more and more Government Health Schemes ushering in, no remarkable shift has been conceived in the paradigm of health sector. India carries 20% of the world’s disease burden, according to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Despite higher economic growth, malnutrition levels are almost twice as high in South Asia as compared to Sub-Saharan Africa. The Health programmes in India are primarily funded by government budgets, international aid and charitable organisations, but the money isn’t quite enough for a country of 1.25 billion people, two third of whom live in the rural areas where the supply of medical care and the ability to pay for medical services is limited. Stakeholder Engagement on Health has been minimal for companies outside of the healthcare, food, beverage, and agriculture industries.
This frontier presents a Call to Action and Collaboration- recognizing that the challenge is too large and too complex for any one NGO or any one Company to tackle the issue; or just the development sector to tackle alone. Companies and NGOs should synergise!
Malnutrition alleviation Programme
Savali Trust, a registered Not-for-Profit organisation, empanelled with the Development Labs — Centre for Public Policy and Governance at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, works in the Health and Education sector. It endeavours to reach out to large section of the ‘needy’ to provide financial assistance, enabling people to build their lives and fulfil their dreams, irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
Savali has recently launched a ‘Malnutrition Alleviation Programme’ for children between 6 months to 5 years of age in Vikramgad and Mokhada Taluka, Palghar District. It defines malnourishment as ‘an abnormal physiological condition caused by deficiencies or imbalances in energy, protein and other nutrients’. According to their study, malnourishment has high prevalence in rural areas and in certain communities like scheduled castes and tribes. The organisation has been supporting 100 children over 12 months and have received sponsorship from Vista ITCL India Ltd. The organisation intend on focussing on this most common and critical paediatric disease.
Savali functions on ground in these areas through their volunteers and trustees. They work closely with Aanganwadis to collect information about children.
Apart from this, Savali also supports multiple medical initiatives like Infant Cardiac Surgeries, Medical camps at schools, Medical Centres, Youth Empowerment Programme, IBT Trainings etc. in Mumbai and Pune region. Other notable causes that the organisation supports include – Supporting wards of paraplegic jawans, providing financial support to Devadasi women for their post-graduation studies, providing sweing machines to Devadasi women to help them sustain their living. Savali Trust also a Nal-Pani Yojana to provide water at doorsteps in 3 villages. Savali is registered as a Public Charitable Trust under Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950.
Savali Charitable Trust works primarily in the Tribal areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka. As they near a decade of their existence, they share the pride of having touched lives of over 25000 people. Many prestigious companies have extended financial support towards their various initiatives. A veteran in the health sector, it has acquired in-depth knowledge in this domain and advocates reasons behind India’s poor health conditions- Poverty, lack of resources, ignorance about diet and cleanliness. Their trustees are professionals from diverse fields – Medical Professionals Entrepreneurs, Corporate leaders, CSR experts, and from the Indian Army.
Savali’s interventions seem to encourage innovative processes and medical devices to deliver healthcare in a portable, convenient and cost-effective manner. The organisation looks forward for support from like-minded people to help expand their reach and impact.
Why should companies invest in nutrition ?
The economic returns to investing in such programs are very high. Improving nutrition increases productivity and economic growth, which in turn has direct implications on national development programmens like Skill India and Make in India. Not addressing malnutrition has high costs in terms of higher budget outlays as well as lost GDP.