Initiative: Integrated Telecare
Domain: Health, Social Protection
Most initiatives addressing the health and wellbeing of vulnerable communities during the pandemic, such as helplines and platforms, are designed top-down, do not integrate with existing public health infrastructure, and are therefore inaccessible. Recognizing this gap in localized and customized solutions to address the needs of marginalized populations, Swasti designed HelloSwasti, an IVR based telephonic platform to provide Covid-19 and non-COVID primary health care, counselling, and social protection support. In this second wave of COVID-19, vulnerable communities and on-ground implementers who support them face several challenges. Vulnerable communities have poor access to healthcare – including support of medical personnel, correct information regarding the virus and protection measures when infected or affected, materials like thermometers and oximeters to monitor their health, safe community facilities, etc. Implementers who work with communities and support them to tide the COVID-19 waves encounter difficulties in reach – due to lockdowns or fear of risk to staff and people. Many implementers are unfamiliar with COVID-19 protocols and do not have access to trained personnel for referrals.
HelloSwasti is a community-led integrated tele-triage and community care service to address physical, emotional and social determinants of health, with provision for COVID-19 care. The service, supported by local stakeholders provides a menu of options of 9 support/service elements:
- Vaccine Counseling and onboarding support; 2. Community Surveillance and Risk Assessment; 3. Social Protection Package; 4. Home Quarantine Care; 5. Navigation support for COVID care centres and hospitals; 6. Support for Health Insurance; 7. Home Quarantine COVID Care Kit; 8. Community COVID care; 9. Community based testing.
While some of these services require feet on the ground, many of the care and counseling services are available through tele consultation, enabling safe access.
Key outcomes we want to achieve:
- Increase the number of vulnerable populations (e.g elderly, disabled, daily wage earners, transgenders) accessing primary health care services
- Reduce the time needed to provide first level support for health conditions.
- Reduce out of pocket expenditure on primary health care
- Integrate telecare with existing health infrastructure to improve treatment adherence and ensure long term commitment to a health goal (TB elimination).
- Ensure safe home isolation for those infected with Covid-19 demonstrated by reduced need for hospitalisation.
The solution has been piloted in 8 locations across India and reached 120,000 individuals over the last 13 months, demonstrating how technology can be leveraged to reach the unreached. We are now scaling up the solution and excited to have like-minded partners to embark on this journey with us.