Tathaastu- A rural initiative

Mother Teresa said,” It is not how much we give that matters, but how much love we put into giving.”

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” said Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There are two days that matter in your life – the day you’re born, and the day you find out why”.

This is a quote Siddhartha Chaturvedi read in an advertisement in TOI that got him thinking. And thus, the idea of the Tathaastu Initiative was born. A few close friends, huddled over coffee, reminiscing their college days, thinking about a sketch they made in their second year, and slowly that became their logo, and the following philosophy was born:

A B.Tech(CSE) graduate from Amity University Noida (2010), Siddhartha worked for 3 years in Wipro as an ERP Consultant (Oracle) for clients like Royal Bank of Scotland, Hitachi GST (Now a Western Digital company), Credit Suisse and Westfield also interned in Siemens HealthCare. Social Welfare his passion, and Technology his forte, he wished to develop a holistic environment (healthcare and education), while eradicating and educating the masses about the diseases and their causes.

While Siddhartha was working with Wipro, he realized one fine evening on his way back from work that this job profile in a corporate did satisfy his passion for technology but in no way satiated his social welfare taste buds. Amidst the fancy software designing for biggies like RBS, he could not see himself making a difference to the society.

The turning point in his life was the floods that took place in Uttaranchal. While a lot of us felt for the people in Uttaranchal, this affected him a little too deeply when he came across the disorder in rehabilitation facilities being provided to the victims in that area. He realized the chaos that was happening in the healthcare sector due to this natural disaster.

When Siddhartha left Wipro, he had a vision – to enable Enterprise like Software engines to power Social organizations, to use the latest technologies for better healthcare and education. And this is when Tathaastu was incorporated in 2013.

The mission of Tathaastu is “Using technology to aid better healthcare and use predictive data analytics to enhance disease pattern recognition and treating causes upstream. This data of drug pattern analysis can be used to enable better drug delivery and minimizing expiries of medicines in the rural setup. The aim is to use the data to strategize customized healthcare solutions, in addition to the nationwide healthcare policies. Drive the next level of disease eradication and prevention.

To better healthcare, we understand a holistic development is required – which includes education, awareness and sports.

Presently they’re working on creating IT Enabled Education services which we plan to release by mid-2015. To enable the creation of replicable models that have plug and play capabilities in diverse geographies.”

The vision of Tathaastu is “To develop a holistic environment (healthcare and education), while eradicating and educating the masses about the diseases and their causes. Enable women empowerment, by educating them and setting up micro industries for self-sustenance.

While we improve the implementation of our products and processes, we’d fan out to other geographies, creating custom solutions where required and replicating what can be re-used”

Aviijai Charitable Trust is the main financier of the Tathaastu Initiative. Avijai Charitable Trust believes that it is their duty to give back to society and to the nation for all that we have been fortunate enough to receive and every act of charity is in fact an act of kindness and love, aimed to make the world, our own world – a better place.

Rural Healthcare in India

According to a new study on access to healthcare facilities shows that rural areas remain significantly underdeveloped in terms of health infrastructure: about half the people in India and over three-fifths of those who live in rural areas have to travel beyond 5 km to reach a healthcare centre

“The healthcare system in India is not delivering affordable, acceptable and accessible healthcare to all Indians – which must be the test of its quality,” said Arun Maira, member, Planning Commission. “In fact, some fixes to only a part, without considering their effects on other parts of the system, can backfire as indeed some are.”

According to the IMS study, the lack of accessible healthcare facilities in rural areas, the difficulty in accessing transport and the loss of earnings means patients postpone treatment, or make do with facilities that may be closer but are not cost-effective or even suited to their needs.

Rural healthcare in India is characterized by a huge gap between supply and demand. Currently, rural healthcare needs are met either by limited government facilities and private nursing homes, which have not been able to keep pace with increasing demand, or by a number of quacks that practice medicine in rural areas. The quality of infrastructure is usually poor and people end up having to go to nearby large cities if they need high-quality care.

Rural India deserves better, since the ability to pay has gone up over the last few years, driven by growth in income and penetration of government healthcare programmes like the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). Increasing demand, combined with the failure of existing infrastructure to scale, has resulted in rural healthcare being a large under-served market.

Absence of a viable business model prevents conversion of the huge rural expenditure on health into an economic activity that generates incomes and serves the poor.

Accessibility to health facilities is a critical factor in effective health treatment for people in rural areas of lesser-developed countries like India. In many areas accessibility is diminished by the lack of all-weather roads, making access subject to weather conditions. Location–allocation models have been used to prescribe optimal configurations of health facilities in order to maximize accessibility20, but these models are based on the assumption that the underlying transport network is static and always available. Essentially, past work has ignored the potential impacts of improvements to the transport system in modeling access.

The best way to control poor practices is through greater consumer awareness, consumer redressal mechanisms, and through community action. These are now increasingly possible due to changes in information and medical technologies.

SHE Project by Tathaastu

Talking of the SHE project, Siddhartha informed, “Social HealthCare and Education Model allows us to focus on the two things that the nation needs to move to the next level. With our deep knowledge about the rural setup and understanding of the local community, we aim to develop cutting edge technology that enables the decision makers to make much more informed decisions in HealthCare and Education.

We also focus on empowering the women of the society, as we believe if women are educated, then the impact on the growing children could be increased, in addition to the female empowerment in the area.”

“Tathaastu has pivoted, and forked into two logical sub-entities: Tathaastu Rural Consulting – handling the on ground and offline activities, and Tathaastu Tech Labs – consisting of the online work, the IT setup and software development. Both of these work in sync to provide the infrastructure for the Tathaastu Social Initiative.”

Journey to the Tathaastu Head Office

Walking into the Tathaastu head office, you come across an extremely dedicated team working on different back end activities.

 

Content Creation

The Tathaastu content creation team goes through various pro-forma templates by the Indian Government and World Health Organization, and researches the pre-existing standards of data collection. Based on those, and tweaking the content to the Indian Rural Setup, they create pre and post camp pro-forma formats, questionnaires and data collection forms.

In addition to these, they design the logo, and create standard templates for presentations, reports, documentation, banners, flexes, flyers and advertisements.

Rural Marketing Model Creation

The team realizes that the contemporary marketing models that are prevalent today could not be lifted and implemented in the framework they had decided to work in. There was a massive marketing gap. The team understood that they could not use mobile SMS’s, mailers and social media marketing in an area where mobile density was less than 2 per 10 people, and the social media was non-existent. Also, due to the high illiteracy, newspaper campaigns would draw a blank.

Therefore they combined traditional offline marketing, with their own innovations to maximize penetration. The team showed them movies, and use the interval to talk to the people, while they enjoy snacks; sent personalized letters to parents via their children studying in school; used motorcycle campaigning; visited various gram pradhans and illustrated the benefits of health camps, included community influencers in our campaign, used recharge shops, kirana shops, and the vegetable market (mandi) to further their cause and spread word.

Linkages & Partnerships

When doing social good, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Tathaastu strongly believes in deep rooted partnerships with people sharing our ideology for the upliftment and benefit of the society. It is because of this, that they’ve partnered with the local organizations that were already doing work in the areas we chose – Family Planning Association of India, Agra Chapter and the S.P. Memorial Society which in turn is partnered with the Chambal Safari – their rural on ground partners.

Partnerships help them in minimizing replication of work, increasing thrust, and improving the trust of the citizens. Due to their strategic linkages, they were able to reduce the ice breaking timeframe, and focus more on the marketing and awareness campaigns. It gave them a platform to launch from, rather than starting from scratch. After all, why reinvent the wheel.

IT Setup & Web Presence

Tathaastu Tech Labs commenced the IT Setup of hardware, servers and the required software in the Agra Satellite office this Jan. They’ve setup a backend to store and analyze data that they receive from the on-ground team, and also have a IT backbone to service the Information Technology requirements of the company, such as web development, report creation, data collection, data mapping, analysis, predictive algorithm creation, software development, social media, development of offline marketing content and creative.

Also, as a one-time setup, Tathaastu Tech Labs also created the online presence of the Tathaastu Social Initiative by Avijai – hosted at http://tathaastu.co/

The email server setup, hosting and maintenance of Tathaastu and Avijai are both looked after by Tathaastu Tech Labs.

 

Ground Activities

The back end activities are a support to the ground activities carried on by the ground team which includes

Village Surveys

The Tathaastu team went out to various villages in the areas surrounding Agra, to identify the best match for their pilot project. They look at various factors such as: distance from the city, distance from the closest private hospital, distance from PHCs/CHCs and government healthcare setup, demographic makeup, socio-economic makeup etc.

Advocacy & Awareness

Advocacy is speaking up, drawing a community’s attention to an important issue, and directing decision makers towards a solution. Advocacy is working with other people and organizations to make a difference.

Tathaastu has used the Rural Marketing Model, to spread the word of their camps, and slowly make people aware about the various health issues in their area.

For the purpose of the health camps, the Tathaastu team covered 27 Villages around Jarar, to promote the free-health checkup.

In the future they plan to use nukkad naatak (street plays), movies, short skits, talks by eminent elders of the village, including Neuro Linguistic Programming in our health camps, to enable a better reach to the people, and appealing to them.

Access

About 60 Kilometers away from Agra, there are people who are devoid of the basic amenities – Clean Drinking Water, Nutritional Food, Specialist HealthCare (and in some cases basic healthcare), Electricity, Education. The team wants to create a conducive environment for all of the above services to be delivered to those people.

The basic underlying motive is to improve access of the rural populace to better healthcare. They have tied up with various doctors and have formed a core-medical team that looks at the disease patterns and analyses what specialty is the need of the hour in the required village. The techno-medical teams are closely working with the on-ground activity teams, to understand and create strategies that would enable the health camps, and other health initiatives to maximize throughout, and create an infrastructure that allows the villagers access to a better lifestyle.

Capacity Building

The goal of capacity building is to create safe and productive communities where people can work, live, play and develop their potentials, the strategies for intervention can be approached from several perspectives. Not for Profit organizations provide the basis and infrastructure for forming social networks that support strong communities. It requires more than linking individuals to institutions, it requires building capacities and relationships among people.

“We’re meeting eminent people, both in government and private, to plan various methods of capacity building, like – vocational training for girls, computer trainings, handmade paper, etc. – so that they can be financially independent. Increase social marketing of their products to create a village centered cottage industry based on the Amul Model, to enhance their standard of living.” says Siddhartha when asked to comment on the sustainability of the model.

Health Camps

Health ‘camps’ are one of the strategies adopted by both government and non-government organizations. This literally means that a team of health professionals ‘camp’ in an area to carry out a limited health intervention.

Many times, a health camp run by with a private hospital becomes a business gimmick. The poor attend the camp with the aim of free check up and free treatment. When they do not get free treatment or subsidy for treatment they stop follow up. While organizing health camps follow up becomes one of the important ingredient in quality health camps.

Either targeted approach without quality services or an activity without follow up will not improve the health status of the patients and will not develop trust between the community and the NGOs involved in such camps.

Tathaastu organized a health camp in Jarar in Feb 2014, and a follow up camp in March, where 8 Specialist doctors from Agra travelled to Jarar. The doctors who honored the camps with their time are:

  • Nikhil Chaturvedi (M.D., Pediatrician)
  • Chandra Kant Chaturvedi (D.A.)
  • Kalpana Chandra (D.G.O, Gynecologist)
  • Sanjay Kulshreshtha (M.S., M.Ch., Pediatric Surgeon)
  • Sanjay Chaturvedi (M.S., Orthopedic Surgeon)
  • Ravi Tandon (M.S., Surgeon)
  • Arun Tewari (M.S., F.R.C.S., Dip. Urology (UK), Urologist )
  • Hemendra Chaturvedi (M.S., Surgeon )

 

In addition to the above panel of doctors, we also had a bone density scan setup, to gauge the spread of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia, in the people.

The health camp also saw the presence of Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh, who dropped by to congratulate the organizers for the health camp.

In the camp and the follow up, they  prescribed medicines free of charge, and a total of 500+ patients were seen. In addition, we gathered data from 1500+ people with respect to their health habits.

Post Camp Activities

Knowledge Management and Analytics

At Tathaastu, they understand the importance of information, and the usefulness of reusable silos of data. That is why they’ve developed the template model of data collection, and knowledge management. They analyze the gaps in the present infrastructure, and create a knowledge center for the methods and processes used to fill those gaps. These can later be reused to help Tathaastu Social Consulting to plug and play similar processes in various setups. They also are actively developing an Analysis tool that helps them narrow down the best match infrastructure setup for an upcoming setup – it will give a rough guideline for new NGOs and startups trying to wade into the Rural Environment, which can then be optimized by the consulting team.

They’ll also be shortly publishing our best practices document, which are a collection of SOPs and guides that would help other like-minded Initiatives.

In the News

Tathaastu Social Initiative was covered on National News by ET Now – where the co-founder Mr. Siddhartha Chaturvedi was interviewed by Ms. Paromita Chatterjee alongwith Mr. Sanjay Reddy – CEO of GVK Industries.

 

Conferences & Symposiums

Tathaastu Social Initiative was one of the 27 startup ideas selected (out of a pool of 20,000) by Lufthansa’s Runway to Success in collaboration with TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), and was featured on their show Lufthansa’s Runway to Success Season 2.

Tathaastu Social Initiative has the honor of being one of the 50 startup ideas worldwide which were selected by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA) for their inaugural Entrepreneurship Boot camp.

Admission into the Bootcamp is highly selective and is based on the following five criteria:

  1. Entrepreneurial Potential.
  2. Long-term Vision.
  3. Analytical Capacity
  4. Contribution to Community.
  5. Focus on Excellence.

Co-Founder – Mr. Siddhartha Chaturvedi, travelled to Boston, MA this August to represent Tathaastu in MIT.

Also, Tathaastu Social Initiative is a part of the Founding Team of the Global Entrepreneurs – a group of Entrepreneurs, coming together to solve the biggest problems of the world.

Tathaastu was also invited to attend the Health Tech Venture Network Conference in Boston, to connect and innovate with leaders in the healthcare technology industry to develop unique, creative ideas and disruptive technologies

The first annual CEO Conference features speakers from The Less Institute, SpineFrontier, Smart Driver Technologies, Impartial Medical Consultants, and many more.

The above diagram illustrates the process flow of the Tathaastu Social Initiative, aiming to embed IT infrastructure into the pre-existing model.

In addition to powering Tathaastu, this could in the future be spinoffs providing consulting services to startup NGOs, Health Initiatives, Government Projects and Rural Welfare Projects, in both the on-ground and the tech space. They believe that moving forward we can create solutions that would not be limited to online or offline activities, but rather be process and product based. In the near future they plan to expand our reach, create products that would solve some of the problems that the team has identified in the framework, and improve their algorithm. HealthCare Processes are a nuanced science and take time, but they believe that with Avijai’s support, they shall be able to deliver in the coming year.

 

Clean Drinking Water. Nutrition.  HealthCare. Education.

These should be rights of every human. And we must strive to work towards making that a reality.