SBI committed 0.25% of its fiscal year 2020 profit to fight COVID-19 outbreak in India. Therefore, with a view to translate SBI’s commitment into action, SBI Foundation launched its COVID-19 Relief Response and the COVID-19 Relief Fund to seek donations from its patrons to collaboratively combat the coronavirus outbreak in India. SBI Foundation has been constructively engaging in collaborative and proactive action to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in India since April 2020.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an acute shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for use by healthcare professionals. A PPE kit consists of goggles, N-95 particle-filtering masks and other masks, complete head covering, hazmat-style suits/ PVC-coated gowns, gloves, shoe covers, etc. to healthcare professionals. Public sector company HLL Lifecare Ltd., the government's sole procurement agency, is struggling to match the supply-demand gap in wake of the rising demand. We, therefore, procured PPE kits for healthcare professionals and the police force as per the current number of active cases of COVID-19 and intensity of impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in the specific region.
Due to the state enforced lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in India, migrants, domestic help workers and daily wage earners in the informal work sector in India have been left to battle financial instability and compromised health within an endless cycle of poverty and disease. Through the food relief initiatives, we have provided dry ration kits, food packets or freshly cooked meals to vulnerable women, migrant workers, daily wage earners, individuals and families who are presently stranded at present due to the ongoing nation-wide lockdown. So far, SBI Foundation has partnered with on-ground implementation partners like CORO India, Akshaya Patra Foundation, IFB Bhavnagar Branch, Annamrita Foundation (formerly ISKCON Food Relief Foundation), Zomato Feeding India, Project Mumbai, Barefoot College, Grameen Sneh Foundation, Bhamla Foundation, Mukul Madhav Foundation, MCGM, etc.
Procuring Ventilators & Other Health Equipment for Government Hospitals to Support Healthcare Professionals and Patients Struck by COVID-19
As the coronavirus crisis accelerated in India, there were not enough ventilators and other health equipment available in government hospitals for healthcare professionals and the patients who had already been struck by the deadly virus. Therefore, SBI Foundation procured low-cost ventilators for government hospitals that are on the frontline in the war against COVID-19. These ventilators were distributed to critical hospitals in the area of operation of SBI Circles across the country. Apart from ventilators, other health equipment like thermal scanners, IR thermometers, pulse oximeters, ECG machines, NST machine, 2D echo machine, fumigator, fogging machines, multipara monitors, nebulisers, radiometer, oxygen concentrator, HFMC machines, IV stands, cardio monitors, BiPap machines, stretcher cabins, recovery trolley and air conditioners were procured for distribution to government hospitals.
SBI Foundation has partnered with ECHO India for training and mentoring healthcare providers across various states in India. ECHO India uses its tele-mentoring platform for knowledge dissemination of best practices for addressing the coronavirus outbreak by adapting the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) model and capacity building of the healthcare providers. The goal of this initiative is to contain the pandemic through providing better services to vulnerable and high-risk communities/population.
Since 1st April 2020, total number of 2,79,617 spokes from various cadres have been successfully trained through 802 COVID sessions conducted by ECHO India in collaboration with 10 NHMs in Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra (with PHI Nagpur), Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (with SGPGIMS), Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Kerala; STOs in Karnataka and Orissa, and STDC Jharkhand. Overall, ECHO India in association with its government and non-government partners has successfully trained more than 3,26,343 spoke participants on prevention and management of COVID-19.
As part of our intervention to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in India, we are supporting research and development (R&D) projects with an aim to prevent, diagnose, contain and treat the disease by designing and manufacturing ventilators, and other low-cost health equipment with IITs/incubators, start-ups and the healthcare industry. In this connection, SBI Foundation has funded two R&D projects through Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
Project Praana aims to design an electro-mechanical ventilator with locally available components so that the production of the ventilators can be rapidly scaled up. A laboratory-grade prototype of an electro-mechanical ventilator based on its novel ventilator design has been developed. The ventilator is at the industrial design phase and is looking for potential industry partners to convert it into an industrial product with a view to commercialise it.
Indian Institute of Science (IISc) faculty have developed an end-to-end solution for COVID-19 testing- the Mobile Infection Testing and Reporting (MITR) Labs. This is India’s first and only ICMR approved BSL-2+ compliant mobile diagnostic lab wherein sample collection, processing and test using RT-PCR can be done on site and the results can be uploaded to ICMR portal. These labs have been designed and developed by Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore along with a faculty start-up ShanMukha Innovations Pvt. Ltd. These mobile labs enable significant reduction in turnaround times from 2-10 days to 4-12 hours for the confirmatory test of COVID-19 using RT PCR. the mobile molecular diagnostics and testing lab has received approval from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) nodal body for lab approval in Bangalore viz. NIMHANS.
SBI Foundation supported the design and development of the internal infrastructure of 2 mobile vans as per the approved design for the mobile diagnostic labs. Mobile Molecular Diagnostics and Testing Lab was handed over to Government of Karnataka. Dr. K. Sudhakar, Medical Education Minister for Govt. of Karnataka was present for the occasion along with Mr. Shantanu Pendsey, General Manager, SBI Bangalore.
In Pictures: The Completed Sample Processing Vans
Handing over ceremony
BSL-2 cabinet inside sample processing
van with glove mechanism for
additional safety during sample handling
SBI Foundation has launched India Health Alliance (IHA), a collaborative healthcare programme to support the Government of India in its efforts to combat current and future healthcare challenges in the country. To catalyse this initiative, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) India has joined as a strategic partner, Xynteo India has joined as a technical partner and IPE Global PAHAL (Partnerships for Affordable Health Access and Longevity) will provide the necessary technical assistance. The prime focus of IHA would be on combating the COVID-19 healthcare pandemic in India, providing comprehensive primary healthcare and optimum nutrition to the vulnerable population, promoting innovative finance, as well as promoting innovations and cutting-edge technologies that can overall strengthen health systems of the country.
Subsequently, in continuation to the ongoing efforts of combating the COVID-19 outbreak, SBI Foundation is supporting Swasti Health Catalyst to launch two critical initiatives for the urban poor in Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Mumbai (Maharashtra) - TeleCare for the Vulnerable and Community Based Testing respectively. The primary objective of these initiatives is to ensure access to primary healthcare and specifically COVID-19 for the most vulnerable populations in these cities. Through the intervention, Swasti aims to avoid delays that impact health outcomes of the marginalised groups, which often lead to severe complications that can be avoided through timely intervention.
Swasti will be working with 2,00,000 people who are most vulnerable across Indore and Mumbai, at their doorstep. Along with ensuring risk of COVID-19 is assessed and addressed for this population (through screening, testing and treatment), Swasti will also provide primary health care services, social protection services, and emotional support through counselling services for the next one year.
TeleCare for the Vulnerable
The impact of COVID-19 is deep, wide and long lasting. The most poor, vulnerable and marginalised communities are at the frontlines of the pandemic and have been pushed further into poverty and marginalisation. In the times of COVID-19, communities need contextual, empathetic and culturally appropriate care - that is both affordable and accessible. HelloSwasti™ is a comprehensive tele-care solution which integrates health, counselling, community involvement and facilitation of social protection schemes. It is layered upon an offline model, with community outreach workers conducting risk assessments and referrals for appropriate care. HelloSwasti™ services are available via a traditional mobile phone through a hyper localized helpline number.
The SBIF – Swasti partnership helps take TeleCare for the Vulnerable to 1,00,000 individuals from the Urban Poor community in 5 Wards in Indore city.
Community Based Testing
During the COVID-19 outbreak, it is imperative to increase access to healthcare for the most vulnerable by taking healthcare care to their doorstep.
Community Based Testing engages and screens vulnerable populations for COVID-19 risk through trusted community champions. It operates across the care continuum and creates service awareness and a database of individuals who are at risk of COVID-19 and need regular follow-up and support.
Those at high risk of COVID-19 will be referred for testing through Swasti’s mobile clinics and those at moderate risk and pre-existing conditions will have regular follow ups. They will partner with local governments and NGOs to ensure referral to health or quarantine facilities for the COVID-19 positive and with individuals so they are empowered and cared for. Swasti’s anti-stigma initiatives will generate demand, de-stigmatise COVID-19 and ensure early detection so that transmission can be curtailed efficiently.
The SBIF - Swasti partnership helps take the Community Based Testing initiative to 1,00,000 individuals from the Urban Poor community in M East Ward (Shivaji Nagar, Govandi), Mumbai.
SBI Foundation hopes to support more such initiatives under the India Health Alliance and will raise funds from other corporates and scale the health programmes in other geographical areas.