By: Smita Gaith
In rural India, Drishtee is improving health outcomes, one woman at a time. Previously, the organization set up several health kiosks around rural parts of India; now, they are taking them one step further by organizing them as small franchises. Each kiosk is run by local women who are trained in several different areas, such as maternal health, but also in simpler diagnostic testing such as pregnancy and blood glucose level tests. Kiosk services are supported by partnerships with qualified auxiliary nurse midwives and gynecologists, who provide a more accessible referral network than hospitals; which can be distant.
These female workers are empowered in multiple ways. First, the women gain skills in the health services sector and have an opportunity to apply those skills. Second, these women are transformed into empowered entrepreneurs; each woman becomes a part owner of her kiosk, providing a source of income.
In order to make the model sustainable, Drishtree kiosks in the state of Assam, well-known for their tea estates and poverty, charge a nominal price of 150 Indian Rupees (about $3 to $4 US) for services. Founder and CEO Satyan Mishra believes that charging for services will also help eliminate an expectation for handouts. Additionally, it was found that pregnant women who registered and regularly paid the nominal fee showed greater levels of ownership in their health; by coming in for regular checkups, and having high rates of on-schedule attendance at ante-natal clinics.
Flickr photo courtesy of travlertrish