RIST has been supporting Americares since 2013, when the foundation provided key funding for the Americares Mobile Health Centre program in Mumbai. Since then, RIST has been a core supporter and partner in the growing program while also supporting other Americares programs in India. After disasters, such as the devastating floods in Kerala the past two monsoon seasons, RIST supported Americares emergency responses, including health camps, repairs to health centers and mental health and psychosocial programming. RIST has also supported Americares India’s Spirit of Humanity Awards, which honor excellence among Indian nonprofits and attract more than 300 entrants each year.
While RIST has supported a range of Americares programs in India, the signature program supported by RIST is the Americares Mobile Health Centre Program. Through the program, Americares has implemented a mobile health center model in Mumbai that currently operates in 131 slum locations that together serve a catchment area of 600,000 people. Each year, the MHCs provide over 140,000 patient consultations. Since 2011, Americares and RIST have responded to the needs of these communities by expanding and refining the MHC model to improve our clinical capacity and community outreach and education. To date we have served over 350,000 unique patients, each clinic session includes health information presentations with discussion, and teams engage in community outreach during national health days to provide information and when appropriate, provide screening.
These efforts were paired with our work to fill gaps in health care in Mumbai’s slums by helping the health providers already present in these communities to provide better, more accessible care through training not only AIF staff, but including local medical practitioners to training sessions. In addition, with the support of RIST, Americares surveyed the health landscape of these communities to better understand residents’ health knowledge and needs as well as what health services are valuable to them and whether those services are deemed to be accessible, affordable and effective.
“RIST is an ideal partner,” says Americares India’s Managing Director, Shripad Desai. “They not only provide funding but sit at the table with us, lending expertise and perspectives on the Indian context that ultimately make our urban health and emergency programs stronger.”
In the next phase of the Mobile Health Centre Program, RIST and Americares will expand on the success of the program to-date, honing clinical aspects while piloting a concentration of resources—combining clinical services, community health and health systems strengthening approaches to simultaneously reach patients and providers, adults and children, public and private institutions.