This week, we bring you five social enterprises working for the containment and cure of TB and other endemic diseases. There’s good news and bad news to the tuberculosis story. The bad news: a third of the world’s population is infected with the bacteria, according to the Center for Disease Control. The good news: it’s curable. The World Health Organization reported an 87% success rate in curing TB through treatment. But the issue of access still remains.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Social Enterprise of the Day – Operation ASHA
The back of every Mumbai rickshaw displays small reminders: “Don’t Spit! Spitting spreads TB!” and “TB is Curable. Use DOTS.” Many of Mumbai’s roughly 18 million residents likely see these service announcements, but far fewer follow their advice. Operation ASHA, a Delhi-based organization, hopes to change that. Operation ASHA works to extend treatment to slum dwellers in Northern Indian cities. ASHA makes treatment easy to come by – locating their clinics in community shops or temples and keeping them open for long hours. They recruit trusted community leaders to administer the DOTS treatment (Directly Observed Therapy – Short Course) and spread important messages about TB prevention and treatment. But ASHA’s real innovation lies in their use of counselors – community-based full-time employees to walk a patient through treatment. ASHA provides commitment, not just a cure, and is working toward treating and de-stigmatizing TB throughout northern India.