MAMTA Health Institute for Mother and Child, a member of the CovidActionCollab shared their experience as part of the COVID-19 response so far.
What have been your key actions, initiatives and outcomes around the COVID-19 response?
First and foremost, MAMTA invested in training all 880 of their employees for on-ground COVID work and gave them context-specific protective gear. MAMTA’s main initiatives focus on the elderly, pregnant mothers, children under two years and migrants. Their COVID-19 response includes:
- Working with Governments: They are providing in-person support to district administrations in Madhya Pradesh (16 districts), Uttar Pradesh (10 districts) and Assam (17 districts). They are working under UP’s Director of Medical Education to support 51 medical colleges. They are helping the Himachal Pradesh (HP) government mentor and monitor frontline workers’ Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child plus Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) response.
- Leveraging Existing Programs and Funds: MAMTA is integrating COVID response measures such as outreach, disemminating knowledge and facilitating tech-based initiatives through its existing programs around tuber-culosis, youth, pregnant women, etc. For example, the child marriage prevention program MAMTA runs in collaboration with UNICEF is being leveraged to thwart mass gatherings in 60+ districts. All extra funds from the organisation are being used for COVID purposes.
- Crowdfunding Campaign: MAMTA started a crowdfunding campaign via Milaap for the early detection, prevention and mitigation of COVID-19 and has raised between INR 20 to 22 lakhs in 10 days. They are hoping to raise 1 crore soon. They reached out to 100,000 families in Delhi and UP (0.5 million population coverage) to raise funds.
- Tele-counselling: They are providing tele counselling in Assam districts and in person support to district disaster management teams for coordinating volunteers and registration, verification of migrants, services, rescue of homeless and destitutes, etc; 55126 adolescents and young people reached telephonically and WhatsApp groups in Assam. They followed up telephonically, counselled and educated 855 HIV positive pregnant women and 16494 TB patients on protection from COVID-19.
- Delivery of Toolkits and Essentials: MAMTA provided 50 PPEs, 100 masks and 500 hand sanitisers to Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital in North West Delhi, and undertook a similar initiative in Lucknow. It facilitated 15 institutional deliveries of HIV safety kits and free ration, vegetables and hygiene and dignity kits in urban slums in Chennai, Delhi and NCR.
- Surveillance: MAMTA screened and uploaded details of 5000 households and 22000 individual under active car finding and surveillance in Himachal Pradesh
What are your biggest learnings/challenges?
The first challenge that MAMTA flags is what will happen to ongoing programs in light of COVID-19- people will still die of undernutrition, tuberculosis, etc. This means that COVID measures need to be mainstreamed into ongoing work, as opposed to being a seperate vertical. Creating an MIS to effectively measure and monitor interventions’ progress appears difficult. Lastly, CSR funds are now mainly being poured into the PM care fund. This poses a significant challenge to NGOs, since their funding for COVID measures is drastically decreasing.
An important lesson from MAMTA’s work is to link every person to a health intervention as well as an economic intervention available through the government (food, cash transfers, etc.), for this is probably the first time where economic interventions will drive as much health impact as health interventions themselves. To achieve this, Dr. Sunil Mehra, founder of MAMTA, encourages collaboration, saying “In India, it is a good thing to learn from each other; it is a great thing to complement each other”.
Written by Meghana Dwaraka, Covid Action Collab.