Hand in Hand
Country of Operation
- Primary care
SummaryHand in Hand is a public charitable trust founded in India in 2002 whose objective is to eliminate poverty by creating jobs. Complementary health programming focuses on reaching out to rural and underserved communities, providing both clinical care and community health awareness and mobilisation.
Although India is in the forefront of medical science with excellent doctors and hospitals, they do not always reach out to people living in the poorest and most remote villages. Hand in Hand's health initiative aims at ensuring that the poorest and most marginalised groups of society have access to healthcare and are aware of their health rights.
Key program components
The work of Hand in Hand rests on five key pillars: microfinance, education, health, information, and the environment. In each new area, Hand in Hand launches its microfinance and self-help group program. Depending on local conditions, the group then introduces education, health, Citizens' Centers, and environmental interventions.
Since 2004, their work has expanded substantially, both geographically and in terms of development interventions. From their base in just one district in Tamil Nadu, Hand in Hand now works in 17 districts. They have also expanded into three other Indian states: Pondicherry, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.
While working with the poor and marginalized, Hand in Hand realized that a big reason for poverty and indebtedness was poor health. A sick person loses many days of wages and a malnourished child misses many days of school. Poor nutrition and low basic health standards also cause low immunity to diseases, and high maternal and child mortality rates. The organization's health programs were therefore developed in order to take basic health care and hygiene services to the very poor.
Hand in Hand runs various health and hygiene awareness programs:
- Malnourished children are tracked and provided with micronutrient supplements.
- A paid community clinic is run by doctors recruited by the organization. This is a successful model that Hand in Hand hopes to replicate elsewhere.
- Sanitation program. This is a classic example of an integrated approach. Village women who form the self-help groups are motivated to build toilets in their own homes. Sanitation loans are then financed through the microfinance division.
- Awareness creation. This is a central part of the organization's work. Health mobilizers are recruited to motivate and mobilize the community.
- Additionally, the organization conducts health, hygiene, and sanitation camps. Medical camps headed by qualified doctors are held regularly in all villages where the group has a presence. Serious cases are referred to the nearest government facility.