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CSR: Promoting Healthcare In Rural India

Healthcare sakhis

Healthcare and sanitation is a right to everyone. But because of lack of infrastructure, awareness and professionals, it is not accessible to about 60% of the population in India. About 70% of the population are living in rural areas in the country. With lack of healthcare and sanitation in these areas, the mortality rates due to diseases is at an all time high.

Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) has made great strides in its endeavours to create a healthy rural India with over one lakh people being provided healthcare treatment every year through its nationwide project ‘Sakhi’, thus taking forward its commitment to drive prosperity in communities.

Under this Health and Sanitation intervention, a group of well-trained women healthcare volunteers known as ‘Sakhis’ has been delivering preventive and promotive health services to underprivileged communities as well as facilitating the access to preventive, promotive and curative services in as many as 194 villages across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Till date, the organisation has trained 352 women as Sakhis, on various health-related aspects. These women are from the local community and hence are well-versed with the existing challenges. More than 110 Sakhis have been absorbed as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), who are community health workers instituted by the country’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as part of the National Rural Health Mission.

The organisation has stepped up its efforts to further strengthen and expand this unique initiative while seeking greater collaborations. Through these ‘Village Health Functionaries’, it primarily focuses on Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health; Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases and Total Sanitation & Curative Health. It extends these healthcare services at the doorsteps via mobile medicare units, community health clinics, diagnostic centres and specialised health camps among others.

This ‘Sakhi’ project initiated in 2005 has been thriving year after year supported by stronger collaborations with various state governments’ Health Departments, panchayats, Village Health and Sanitation Committees, like-minded Corporates and NGOs.  ACF has held over 5200 specialty health camps, facilitated construction of 30,000 toilets and achieved 100% toilet coverage for 131 villages. Besides, it is also working in 101 villages to combat non-communicable diseases that require urgent attention in rural India.

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The CSR Journal Team