How low-cost treatment centres are helping the most vulnerable deal with COVID-19

Rizwan Ali
·2 min read
Low cost recovery bed
Low cost recovery bed

Population Foundation of India in its ongoing Himmat Hai Toh Jeet Hai campaign is celebrating stories of inspiring Corona warriors who continue to brave the pandemic to serve people against all odds. One such story narrates how Ahmedabad-based Anant National University partnered with the Government of Kerala and Parliamentarians with Innovators for India (PII- a national action group of academicians, think tanks, entrepreneurs, innovators, policymakers, and parliamentarians) to set up low-cost COVID-19 recovery facilities across the country. Anant National University helmed this by mobilising its in-house designers, urban planning innovators, faculty, and students who provided a host of highly effective solutions - especially for those who have no access to expensive medical care.

What emerged was the plug-and-play template of Anant COVID-19 recovery facilities offering highly localised and scalable models based on a university-government-private sector partnership.

Says Dr. Miniya Chatterji Lilaramani from Sustain Labs, “When the pandemic hit India, I knew that social distancing would not work in a country where 1 out of 6 urban dwellers live in slums and that it would be the vulnerable pockets of our society that would bear the biggest brunt. I wanted to do whatever little I could to save as many lives as possible. It was then that it struck me that I could bring together Parliamentarians with Innovators of India, the Population Foundation of India, Anant National University, Sustain Labs, and Habitat for Humanity, to come up with a highly scalable and affordable solution to lower the fatality rate for the poorest. We started making large COVID hospitals across India in vacant buildings. We came up with an innovation of creating hospital beds out of cardboard bringing the manufacturing cost down to just Rs 6000 per bed. Today we have set up 10 large COVID hospitals across 5 states and thousands have gone back home healthy. We wanted to give them all, especially the poorest, an equal chance to survive. I too believe in the “Himmat Hai Toh Jeet Hai,” credo. Where there is courage, there is victory.”

dr miniya
dr miniya

These recovery facilities are designed for moderate and mild cases of COVID-19, take no more than 6-7 days to set up, and cost barely one-tenth of what traditional recovery facilities cost.

The ‘Himmat Hai Toh Jeet Hai’ campaign by Population Foundation of India that was launched in September, continues to celebrate stories of courage and hope during the ongoing pandemic. The campaign is guided by renowned film and theatre director Feroz Abbas Khan. Through this campaign, PFI wants to showcase real stories of fortitude exhibited by people across society from frontline workers to COVID-19 survivors.