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May 15, 2019

Celebrating inclusion & diversity

Dr. Shelly speaking at HITLAB summit
Dr. Shelly speaking at HITLAB summit

Dear Friend, 

Operation ASHA is back with an update.

We in Operation ASHA believe in inclusion, diversity, and equitable distribution not just of resources but of health solutions for all. To this end we are serving marginalized communities irrespective of colour, caste, creed, religion, political beliefs or socio-economic status. Our community health workers are the backbone of our organisation. They themselves belong to diverse backgrounds. They carry out the full spectrum of TB services for their own communities, in villages or slums, on mountains or islands, in hard-to -reach remote areas miles away from civilisation.

Crossing the 100,000 mark!

We are grateful to you for your unswerving support in the past decade. It’s because of you that in 2018 we have crossed the 100,000 mark, having detected and treated more than 100,000 TB patients, giving them health and dignity and subsequent economic benefits. TB treatment is a poverty alleviation programme. According to the government of India each treated patient gets an annuity of $13,395. Thus we have provided a total benefit of more than $1.39 billion to treated patients, and the country's economy has saved an equivalent amount in indirect costs.

In Cambodia, serving with compassion:                     

Long time ago we realised that TB detection and treatment is an urgent need everywhere. In 2010 we started work in Cambodia. Today we are serving 17% of the population and treating 17% of all TB patients there. Our health workers go on boats from island to island in the Mekong Delta to carry out TB awareness and education, sputum collection and transport, and giving daily supervised medication for 6 to 9 months.

In Afghanistan, where people matter:

Three years back we started working Afghanistan where we received tremendous support from the National TB Control Program and ACREOD, a local NGO. We provided the training and the technology. Local Afghani people are given jobs as community health workers. I’m proud to say that within 2 years we exceeded our targets in Afghanistan and are now embarking on a much bigger project.

Projects in Tanzania:

Our project in Tanzania has had unprecedented results. Here our collaboration is with APOPO, an Ashoka Fellow, as well as Mkuta, a local NGO, and everything we do is embedded in the National TB Control Program of the country. This year we shall start work in Zambia, another country that is riddled with poverty and disease where the need is immense.

The world is one family. The biggest religion is humanity. These are the core principles on which we work. Thank you for being part of our lives. Thank you for your blessing and guidance that have supported us in this long and difficult journey.

 Awards and Media mentions

  • Operation ASHA was invited by DHFL to be a part of a function at Vasai Nagar Palika office. The function had other participants associated with DHFL, where all the partners were provided with some space to put their display material. Operation ASHA was glad to be a part of the function, where it got the opportunity to display its technology (software application used for tracking treatment of the patients), and comic books through which awareness is done in the disadvantaged communities. The schools kids were very keen to read our comics and raised a lot of questions on the comic book  character and the motive of Operation ASHA spreading the message on TB. The parents too were    equally enthusiastic and were committed to inform OpASHA if they come across any TB symptomatic.
  • A team consisting of two persons from a local Zambian NGO and one person from National TB Program, Zambia recently visited India to see Operation ASHA’s work in action. Their objective was to assess and implement Operation ASHA’s unique community-driven, low-cost model, supported with technology in Zambia. We organized a field visit for them. The members of the team were impressed with Operation ASHA’s technology and model. The NTP Officer Ms Clara Kasapo commented "the way Operation ASHA's community health workers approach and speak to patients and family members, it is obvious that they have developed close personal rapport. The workers have exhaustive knowledge about TB and have educated the families and patients very well.”
  • Researchers from McGill University, McGill International TB Center, World Bank, Harvard Business School and International Food Policy Research Institute published an enlightening research article, based on interviews with 86 community health workers and 3,424 TB patients of Operation ASHA, spread over 9 cities and 4 states. Nearly 6,000 interviews were conducted. 
  • The research proves that social proximity, brought about by the community-driven approach of Operation ASHA, is consistently associated with higher knowledge and greater adoption of prevention behavior by patients and communities.
  • On the occasion of World TB Day, Operation ASHA organized TB awareness campaign at about 100 different locations where Operation ASHA work. The people were educated by our staff about the symptoms and treatment of TB. All activities were planned and executed in collaboration with the Government TB staff and other NGOs/ leaders.Dr Shelly Batra, our President, was invited as a speaker to the prestigious HITLAB Innovators Summit at IIT Delhi on Feb 16. Dr Batra contributed to a discussion on "Empowering meaningful digital health innovation for India’s 1.3+ billion lives" over an exciting day of digital health and health-tech disruption.
  • PGI, Chandigarh, the premier medical institution in India, invited our CTO, Ms. Sonali Batra, to deliver a session on eHealth model of Operation ASHA. The Press Release issued by PGI lauded her contribution with the following comment in their press release "Sonali Batra, CTO & Director Development at Operation ASHA discussed on the Innovative model for TB Detection & Treatment, & Prevention of Drug Resistance. OPASHA team visit TB patients in home and community setting and use technology to register consumption of drugs so that compliance can be ensured and drug resistance can be avoided (e-compliance).Till date OPASHA has 86.9% treatment success rate and in total 93899 patients have been treated fully. There is provision of e-detection for active case finding." http://indianewscalling.com/…/78835-experts-discussed-onlin…  

 Case study of a patient

In search of a better life and good income generating options, Kalavati Patel migrated from Mehardevi, a small town in Satna district in Madhya Pradesh to Mumbai. She along with her family (husband and two children) got settled in Voidapada, Vasai- E (Mumbai), a slum. It has been 3 years now since Kalavati migrated from her native town. She started working as a household help in the nearby areas and her husband got a job at a motor repairing garage.

The family was passing their days peacefully with whatever they could be able to afford with their income. Gradually, in February this year, Kalavati began suffering from regular evening fever which soon followed by coughing. Day by day, this increased. Kalavati was so focused on her work and income generation, she could not even pay much attention to her health. She completely ignored the symptoms.

One day when our provider, Tankit, was on household visits in Kalavati’s area, her neighbor, out of suspicion of some serious illness, informed the Provider that Kalavati was coughing badly for the past many days. Tankit visited Kalavati’s house and spoke to her in detail. He also had a conversation with her husband and explained the immediate need of TB detection test of his wife. Tankit collected her sputum and transported to the hospital. The Provider was equally eager to know the test result as Kalavati’s family was.

The very next day, the result of the sputum test was declared as positive. Kalavati was suffering with TB. She was immediately enrolled on our TB treatment system.

Her treatment started. Her body had become so weak that she started facing side effects of the drugs and found it so difficult that she decided to leave the treatment incomplete. The provider put his efforts in counseling her but it could not change her decision. As an attempt, the Provider requested Kalavati to attend an Expert Counseling session which is provided by our Expert Counselor based at Delhi headquarters. Luckily, Kalavati agreed to this. She and her husband had a 40-minute long expert counseling session with the Expert Counselor. This session brought positive result and Kalavati was finally convinced to continue with her treatment. Now, she is on medication. Her health has a great improvement.

Donations raised

During the quarter (February to April), Operation ASHA could be able to raise $296. These donations will help the treatment of disadvantaged TB patients in India Cambodia.   

Operation ASHA expresses gratitude to its donors and supporters for joining the mission of TB eradication. We look forward to your continued support. 

Thank you 

Shelly Batra

President

Operation ASHA

Donate now   
You can follow OpASHA's CEO Mr. Sandeep Ahuja (@sandeepahuja12) and President Dr. Shelly Batra (@shells1857) on Twitter. You can also follow OpASHA on Facebook and Twitter.

Zambian team on a field visit
Zambian team on a field visit
DHFL event in Vasai
DHFL event in Vasai
Awareness campaign
Awareness campaign
Feb 15, 2019

New hope in the new year, THANKS to our donors

Dr. Shelly receives prize at Zayed award ceremony
Dr. Shelly receives prize at Zayed award ceremony

Dear Friend,

Christmas is about festivity and joy. Everywhere you go, the streets are hung with fairy lights, twinkling like a thousand stars, and everyone is meeting up with family and friends for partying and making merry and exchanging gifts.

But there are people whose lives are in darkness.

11 year old Noori - whose name means light- is one of them. Her father died of Tuberculosis when she was a toddler. Her mother kept the home fires burning by doing odd jobs for well-off people. They were kind, the people she worked for, and would often give her food and clothes, and life went on. But one day there was a terrible storm and her shanty collapsed in the torrential rain, and they lost their meagre possessions. Noori lost her books and school uniform, and couldn’t go to school anymore. Then her mother developed an intractable cough and was hospitalised with fluid in the lungs due to TB. At the tender age of 10, Noori became a nurse attendant for her ailing mother, and also took up odd jobs to stave off hunger. School was a forgotten dream.

"Of all the inequalities in the world, health inequalities are the worst," said Martin Luther King. Operation ASHA was established for this very reason, to bridge the health divide, to provide succour and comfort to the ailing.

This Christmas, let us bring light in the lives of those who live in darkness, half hidden in the shadows, those who walk the valley of fear and live without food and shelter, and have no money for health and education. Donate Now, for the love of Him who gave His life and love to the poor and meek and lowly. Make this Christmas joyful for those who are in need, and bring joy to their lives and yours.

Media mentions

  • The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a London based news organization, wrote an article on how Operation ASHA (www.opasha.org) is eliminating the stigma and giving new life, new hope and a new vision for life to people affected with this killer disease. This article can be read at: https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/…/how-india-is-trying…
  • Our President Dr Shelly Batra was invited for a Roundtable discussion by Tata Trust's India Health Fund. The topic was - Identifying problems for prioritising actionable solutions for TB. She presented Operation ASHA's extensive use of low-cost, easy to use technology to ensure every dose, monitor staff, bring down costs, and give the best results in the world, with absolute accuracy and transparency.
  • Sonali Batra, CTO of Operation ASHA, was invited to give a demo of OpASHA's technology at the ICTDX conference held at IIM Ahmedabad.
  • Operation ASHA was among the top 3 finalists for the Zayed Sustainability Prize in the 'Health' Category. Our President Dr Shelly Batra was invited to Abu Dhabi to attend a star studded glittering award function, together with our CTO Sonali Batra. The event was graced by dignitaries from across the globe.
  •  Our President Dr Shelly Batra was invited to Niti Aayog's Women Entrepreneurship Platform Conclave in New Delhi in Dec 2018. Dr Batra represented Operation ASHA on a panel discussion, where she answered questions on challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and how they won over the obstacles and achieved success.
  • Forbes magazine published the interview of Dr. Shelly Batra about her experience of using voice-to-text technology as her office assistant to save costs and maximize efficiency.
  • Operation ASHA was recently shortlisted as one of the finalists for the Peter Drucker Prize, 2018.
  • Our CEO and co-founder, Mr. Sandeep Ahuja, represented Operation ASHA at MIT Solve in New York City. Operation ASHA was selected as one of the finalists for this challenge out of 1150 solutions submitted from 110 countries.
  •  Pradeep Chintagunta, a leading professor of marketing from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business delivered an impressive lecture on how he used the concept of marketing to improve detection of tuberculosis patients in India. We are honored that Professor Chintagunta chose Operation ASHA for the entire fieldwork. The presentation was organized by IIM, Ahmedabad in collaboration with Unilever India. It was held at COWORKS, Mumbai. An impressive gathering of IIM alumnus and other dignitaries including Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla appreciated the work done by Professor Chintagunta and Operation Asha.
  • Operation ASHA won the "Top-Rated Nonprofit Award- 2018" from "GREAT NONPROFITS", the best platform for community-sourced stories about nonprofits. We secured this place for expanding access to health services of a high quality at affordable prices among disadvantaged communities. 
  • PGI, Chandigarh, the premier medical institution in India, invited our CTO to deliver a session on eHealth model of Operation ASHA. The Press Release issued by PGI lauded her and OpASHA’s contribution in TB space.

Case study of a patient

Mudassar (37 yr. old male) is originally from Bihar.  In search of a job to provide better and dignified life to his family, Mudassar migrated to Delhi along with his wife and two sons and started living in the slums of Khadda Colony area. He soon found a job of a helper at a factory. His children also got admission in the nearby government school. The family was living happily until the bad luck struck.

In December, Mudassar started keeping unwell and had consistent cough. He did not pay any attention to this and thought that it was due to the change of weather. He took medication for normal cough and cold which did not bring any improvement to him. He remembered that he had suffered with TB in the past before his marriage. Still, he was ignorant toward the same symptoms which he had experienced earlier and continued with his daily routine life.  

Our provider Payal happened to meet Mudassar during the household visits in his area. Mudassar explained his condition and the symptoms to Payal.  With the help of Payal, Mudassar underwent TB test. Unfortunately, the report revealed that he was suffering with Pulmonary TB.

As soon as, this news reached to Mudassar’s wife, she left him and went back to her parents in Bihar, leaving her children behind with Mudassar.  Though Payal (the provider) attempted to contact Mudassar’s wife and explain her that there was no threat to her and the disease was completely curable, but could not be able to speak to her.

This was a tough time for Mudassar mentally as well as physically. Payal counselled Mudassar and informed him about preventive measures which he needed to take with his children. She also informed him about the importance of completion of the treatment. Now, Payal has been counselling regularly and proactively. This has resulted in a positive way. Mudassar has now been able to cope up with the stress and is recovering.

Donations raised

This quarter, Operation ASHA was able to raise $245. These donations will help disadvantaged TB patients get medicines, grocery, and other necessary day to day items in India and Cambodia.   

Operation ASHA is grateful to the support it gets from supporters for joining hands in TB eradication. We look forward to your continued support. 

Thank you 

Donate now   

You can follow OpASHA's CEO Mr. Sandeep Ahuja (@sandeepahuja12) and President Dr. Shelly Batra (@shells1857) on Twitter. You can also follow OpASHA on Facebook and Twitter.

Sandeep Ahuja with Pradeep Chintagunta
Sandeep Ahuja with Pradeep Chintagunta
Sandeep Ahuja giving presentation at MIT Solve
Sandeep Ahuja giving presentation at MIT Solve
Nov 19, 2018

3 year old Chikoo is learning to play cricket

Dear Friend,

There was great jubilation in the village when Chikoo was born. His mother Salma had lost five children in childbirth. Her face was prematurely lined with grief, but she broke into laughter when blessed with a healthy baby. Chikoo was plump and active, and his loud, lusty cries when hungry would rouse the entire neighbourhood. He proved to be a boon to the family. Salma, who would stitch clothes on her sewing machine for the neighbours, began to get more business coming her way. Shabaz, Chikoo's father, was a carpenter and a cricket aficionado and an ardent fan of Kapil Dev, and he whittled a cricket bat from a piece of wood, waiting for the day when father and son would play cricket together.

But then unexpectedly, gradually and imperceptibly, Chikoo became sick. He could not eat or play, and his lusty cries dwindled to feeble whimpers. His parents went running from pillar to post to find a cure, but no diagnosis could be made, and no treatment started. His condition kept deteriorating till he became a shadow of his former self. The cricket bat kept gathering dust in a corner. Chikoo's parents bled themselves white to pay for his treatment, but to no avail.  Then one day, the sewing machine had to be sold and the family income came down drastically.

Then one day, Operation ASHA’s health worker Laxmi met Salma at a village gathering. Laxmi fixed an appointment in the local public hospital and took Chikoo there for testing and treatment. Chikoo was diagnosed with paediatric TB, and thus began a long and difficult journey. For full six months, Laxmi gave every support to the family. She would go everyday on a bicycle to visit and would coax Chikoo to take his medicine. She would take him on her lap and rock him and tell him stories. Sometimes she would bring little gifts and candy. And every day, without fail, she would give him medicines with her own hands. 

Now Chikoo has recovered fully. He is three years old. His voice is loud and clear and confident. Salma and Laxmi are the best of friends. And yes, the father and son play cricket every day. "My son will be another Kapil Dev! He will score centuries and beat the British," boasts Shabaz proudly.

This is not a miracle. This is what we do day after day for many, many children, those who live in far flung areas, in villages and slums and mountains, those who are marginalised and hungry and live in great deprivation. And it’s you who is helping us serve these children and fulfill our mission. Thank you very much for your unswerving support.

Media mentions

  • Goldman Sachs declared Operation ASHA a winner of the Analyst Impact Fund Competition, 2018, for bringing tuberculosis t
  • Treatment and health services to the underprivileged. 
  • Our President, Dr. Shelly Batra is one of the 6 people selected across the world for an award by the Pierre Fabre Foundation for her work in social entrepreneurship. Foundation Pierre Fabre also recognized our innovative works and selected us for "The 3rd Global South eHealth Observatory Award- 2018”.
  • Operation ASHA collaborated with the NGO Every Infant Matters and Virat hospitals in Rewari, India to carry out health-related activities for children, such as awareness of proper hand washing techniques, vitamin A distribution, and deworming.
  •  Forbes magazine interviewed Dr. Shelly Batra, our President and Cofounder, who is using voice-to-text technology as her office assistant to save costs and maximize efficiency.
  • Operation ASHA was recently shortlisted as one of the finalists for the Peter Drucker Prize, 2018.
  • Our CEO, Mr. Sandeep Ahuja represented Operation ASHA at MIT Solve in New York City. Operation ASHA has been selected as one of the finalists for this challenge out of 1150 solutions submitted from 110 countries.
  • Pradeep Chintagunta, a leading professor of marketing from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business delivered an impressive lecture on how he used the concept of marketing to improve detection of tuberculosis patients in India. We are honored that professor Chintagunta chose Operation Asha for the entire fieldwork. The presentation was organized by IIM, Ahmedabad in collaboration with Unilever India. It was held at COWORKS, Mumbai. An impressive gathering of IIM alumnus and other dignitaries including Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla appreciated the work done by Professor Chintagunta and Operation Asha.
  • Operation ASHA won the "Top-Rated Nonprofit Award- 2018" from "GREAT NONPROFITS", the best platform for community-sourced stories about nonprofits. We secured this place for expanding access to health services of a high quality at affordable prices among disadvantaged communities. 
  • Dr Shelly Batra was invited to the UN General assembly in Sept 2018, and also to the World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development Impact summit as Discussion Leader for the session on Realizing Universal Health Coverage. 
  • Our President Dr Shelly Batra was invited for a Roundtable discussion by Tata Trust's India Health Fund. The topic was - Identifying problems for prioritizing actionable solutions for TB. She presented Operation ASHA's extensive use of low-cost, easy to use technology to ensure every dose, monitor staff, bring down costs, and give the best results in the world, with absolute accuracy and transparency.

Case study of a patient

Manisha is a 24 year old female living in the slums of Vasai in Bilalpada area. She is survived by her 3 sisters and a father. She lost her mother a few years back due to illness. Her father runs a small general store in the slum itself. This is the only source of income for the survival of the family of five.

Manisha started feeling very weak and lost a lot of weight before getting diagnosed for TB. The family was not sound financially, and hence, it took them a lot of time to get diagnosed as they were visiting private doctors. The doctor had prescribed her antibiotics which had no positive impact on her body. She grew very weak and lean and the family was under tremendous pressure as they ran out of money and were barely able to manage for their food.

Then one fine day, our Provider, Ganesh met Manisha during his field visits in the slum. He spoke to her in detail about the symptoms and got to know that she may be a prospective TB case. He collected her sputum samples and transported them for testing. When the results were out, Manisha’s world turned upside down. She was diagnosed with pulmonary positive TB.

Ganesh counselled her and her family about her disease and next steps. Manisha started treatment immediately but her body had grown very weak and the medicines had a lot of side effects. She used to vomit after every dose. She had lost all the hopes by now and decided to quit her treatment. In the mean time she was also diagnosed with typhoid. She was not at all ready to take any treatment now. Neither for TB and nor for Typhoid. Ganesh and her family members were doing their best to convince her for treatment.

Finally after putting a lot of efforts and interference of our Program Manager, the patient agreed to take treatment of Typhoid. When her Typhoid got well, she immediately started TB treatment as well. She is now feeling a lot better and has again started doing her routine work just like before. She has also shown notable weight gain and feels strong and motivated now.

Donations raised

This quarter, Operation ASHA raised $155. These donations will be used to provide medicines, grocery, and other necessary day to day items to the disadvantaged TB patients in India Cambodia.   

Operation ASHA is thankful to its supporters for joining hands in TB eradication. We look forward to your continued support. 

Thank you 

Sandeep Ahuja

CEO, Operation ASHA

Donate now   


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