Invest for Wellness (i4we)

Chapter 1: Making Every Rupee Count

Posted On
Tuesday, September 10, 2019


15 years of impact

Every single rupee you invest in a social development programme has the potential to break the intergenerational cycle of ill health, poverty and violence.

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a framework for measuring and accounting for this very value returned on investment. It incorporates the entire gamut of social, environmental and economic benefits, guiding programmes and investments alike. Behind this number is the story of how the Avahan programme has ensured greater safety for communities, health seeking behaviour, financial health and a reduction of new HIV infections.

The SROI’s results for Avahan India AIDS Initiative Phase III supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, tells us that for every USD 1 invested in Avahan, the community receives USD 29.78 in hand. This is a stunning statistic, given that the programme was delivered at the cost of only USD 19 against the sectoral benchmark of USD 100 per person every year.

SROI is a telling indicator of how well a programme can serve a community. Picture this scenario. The year is 2016. The sector has been jolted into accepting that healthcare does not work for the poor in most parts of Asia. The system is unfriendly, costly or both. On the demand side, health is not a priority for the poor either, unless it affects their daily lives and then too only symptomatic relief is sought. This results in repeat episodes of prevent- able illnesses and drug resistance to treatment. While promotive health delivers significant returns to the communities, it offers little incentive for private and government sectors alike.

Every one rupee invested in i4We gives a social return of Rs 3.32 in the hands of the community members. This programme shows an economic return on investment of a whopping 352 per-cent (under the process of certification by Social Value International).

The SROI findings for i4We guide us on how to break this cycle.

The poor lose one to two months of productive time a year due to illness in the family. Nearly 50 – 60 percent live with some form of undiagnosed illness and die earlier than those who are economically better off.

Invest for Wellness programme (2017) is a nurse led primary and promotive wellness model sustained through a blended financing model. It currently functions in four settings: urban slum, rural village clusters, garment factory cluster and collectives of marginalised women and sexual minorities.

Avahan India AIDS initiative Phase III (2014- 2017) was implemented with 84 community organisations reaching 130,000 women sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM) and transpersons

The poor lose one to two months of productive time a year due to illness in the family. Nearly 50- 60 per-cent live with some form of undiagnosed illness and die earlier than those who are economi- cally better off.1 In India alone, about 50 to 60 million people in the last decade have been pushed to the brink of poverty because of health-related expenditures.2

In scenarios such as these, that play out across the country everyday, programmes like Invest for Well- ness (i4We) offer a lifeline for the poor. This 2 year old programme offers an encouraging glimpse of what could be possible if investments were made in primary preventive and promotive care.

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