On June 14, we accompanied Operation ASHA’s Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Sonali Batra, and Program Management & Development Lead, Manisha Gupta to USAID India’s Health Office Partners Meeting at the Taj Mahal Hotel. The meeting hosted partner NGO’s from all over India, focusing on issues from HIV/AIDS to TB to maternal health, and we were proud to set up Operation ASHA’s technology booth amongst a variety of other NGO’s using technological innovation to work towards better public health in India. The meeting gave us an opportunity to see the range of causes, projects, and partnerships supported by American aid from the perspective of an NGO operating in India.

As American interns, this was a new experience for us — we had both heard of USAID’s work, but never seen it in action. The meeting was an all-day affair, and served to update and remind partners of USAID policies and practices, as well as to offer a forum for NGO’s to share experience and advice with each other. The panels covered a range of topics regarding the function of a health NGO, from relationship-building with the private sector and government, to technology, gender integration, and community engagement. These panel discussions and the technology booths taught us a lot about how organizations addressing similar health care concerns were creating and using novel solutions.

We spent the rest of our day presenting Operation ASHA’s technology to members of the other organizations there with Sonali. Operation ASHA’s booth was crowded as we talked about the suite of mobile applications that we use to increase treatment adherence for TB patients. Many other NGO’s seemed interested in Operation ASHA’s use of biometrics to verify patient / provider meetings and doses taken, as well as its use of SMS messages for quick and efficient communication. Several visitors were particularly interested to hear about Operation ASHA’s work towards incorporating Aadhaar ID into the eCompliance Suite, so that patient details can be easily retrieved from the database without having to feed them in.

We enjoyed presenting Operation ASHA’s technology alongside the other successful NGO partners attending USAID’s meeting, and learned a great deal from the experience.

 

—  Hema Venkat and Caroline George

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