Fortify Health's response to COVID-19, our plans going forward, and our additional projects
Fortify health's response to covid-19
Fortify Health is working to ensure that the significant progress India has made in nutrition over the last few decades is continued, and not reversed, in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Nutrition interventions are more essential than ever; good nutrition builds immunity, prevents/reduces many long term health issues, and has life-long positive effects on cognitive development in children. If nutrition interventions fall through the cracks, experts believe there will be a secondary public health crisis after the immediate COVID-19 crisis.
To work towards preventing this, Fortify Health will continue to expand its core wheat flour fortification programme after lockdown, and when it is safe for our team to continue our operations. We will also scale up our engagement with state and district-level government in Maharashtra, to support them in reaching the most vulnerable populations with fortified wheat flour.
Fortification is, and will continue to be, a highly effective way of getting essential micronutrients to large populations, including the most vulnerable and remote groups. It is important that institutions and NGOs keep on track with global developmental progress, whilst also reacting quickly to the spread of COVID-19. Given this urgent and ongoing need for adequate nutrition at population scale, Fortify Health will remain focused on its core intervention. We will also remain willingly flexible in the case that we identify additional, effective, related interventions.
If we let nutrition and other public health interventions fall through the cracks, we will have a secondary public health crisis on our hands
On 1 April 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) requested all FCRA-holding organisations to redirect some funds to COVID-19 programmes.
Following this order by the MHA, Fortify Health at Development Consortium has rechannelled INR 1,150,000 (~$15,000 USD) of its foreign grants. We're glad to be partnering with two organisations (below) to support informal sector communities, who have been most harshly affected by COVID-19:
Civic Response Team
Civic Response Team (CRT) works closely with waste pickers and sanitation workers in Aurangabad, Maharashtra to enhance their livelihoods and help provide access to more dignified working conditions. Since the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19, they have been raising funds to facilitate access to safe working conditions to frontline workers in the field of sanitation. As the lockdown was extended, CRT extended their support to daily wage earners in Aurangabad as well, and they are now working to provide: a) dry ration packages to vulnerable families, and; b)personal protective equipment (PPE) to sanitation workers.
Fortify Health has committed INR 700,000 (~$9,300 USD) to CRT. We'll use 80% of the donation to distribute dry rations, 10% towards PPE supplies, and 10% towards CRT’s logistics team.
One pack of dry rations costs INR 3,000 for one family (~ 2 adults and 2 children). A family will receive one package per month, containing both food and household goods. Fortify Health at Development Consortium’s donation will reach approximately 900 beneficiaries, and will facilitate around 67,000 meals over a period of 6 months.
For more information on CRT’s work, visit their website.
Farmers for Forests
Farmers for Forests (F4F) is conducting an unconditional cash transfer programme in Pune and Mumbai to financially support those who lost their livelihoods due to lockdown.
Fortify Health at Development Consortium has committed INR 450,000 (~$6,000 USD) to F4F to facilitate cash transfers in urban slums in Sion, Mumbai. Farmers for Forests are identifying and vetting target beneficiaries to ensure the benefit is going to people who need it most in Sion, and is then providing a one-time INR 5000 cash transfer to households. The recipients of the cash transfer are daily labourers, street vendors, household help, and other financially underprivileged personnel who are in economic distress because of COVID-19. F4F and Fortify Health at Development Consortium are reaching approximately 90 household beneficiaries.
After processing the tranfers, F4F will conduct: a) a confirmation call post-payment with the beneficiaries, to ensure that the payment is received in the beneficiaries’ bank account, and then; b) a follow-up call, comprising a phone survey with the sample of beneficiaries to collect the details on accessibility of money spending, a week after the transaction.
For more information on Farmers for Forests' work, visit their website.