Ericsson India is supporting the Indian government in its efforts to minimize the impact of COVID-19 across some of the most underserved urban areas of the country.
Ericsson India and its non-governmental organization (NGO) development partner in India, the Smile Foundation, have teamed up to enable COVID-19 swab samples in underserved communities to be collected and transported to government laboratories for testing.
Ericsson funds the Smile Foundation’s Smile on Wheels service – mobile medical vans staffed by health professionals and trained volunteers – which is helping to conduct COVID-19 swab tests in underserved areas of Chennai and Pune and transport the samples to government labs in each city.
The joint Ericsson/Smile Foundation initiative is aimed at supporting Indian government objectives to speed up COVID-19 testing in the cities. Ericsson Smile E-clinics will also provide healthcare services in these communities.
Ericsson India and the Smile Foundation have supported healthcare initiatives in underserved areas of India for more than five years. Ericsson sponsorship has enabled the Smile on Wheels initiative to operate in underserved areas of Noida, Kolkata, Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Gurgaon.
The free healthcare services provided by Ericsson India and the Smile Foundation are aimed at supporting the secondary and tertiary healthcare outreach of the Indian government in underserved areas.
The Ericsson India-Smile Foundation will also train more than 5,000 young people, aged 18-30, with professional healthcare skills. Some 40 Ericsson Learning Centers have been established in Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Pune and Kolkata to skill young people from underserved communities. In the past five years Ericsson and Smile Foundation have trained and secured employment for about 15,000 young people.
Amitabh Ray, Head of Ericsson India Global Services, which runs the Ericsson India initiative, says: “Our partnership with Smile Foundation has now evolved to include a fresh focus on COVID-19, both in terms of healthcare services to underserved communities as well as skill building. We want to complement and strengthen the Indian Government’s healthcare initiatives against the pandemic in terms of emergency response as well as skill building of the youth from underserved communities.”
Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder and Trustee, Smile Foundation, says: “Smile recognizes the urgent need for a robust healthcare ecosystem. It is our privilege to join hands with Ericsson in this unique initiative for enhancing the reach of government in collecting samples of COVID-19 patients and complementing the efforts of the government in providing primary healthcare services and the Skill-India Mission. We have been associated with Ericsson for five years now. We aim at reviving and supporting India’s healthcare systems and the upcoming generation by employing tools of tele-medicine and engaging the youth of the country.”
The Smile Foundation aims to help more than 15 million underprivileged children, youth and women in India every year. It runs more than 400 welfare projects spanning education, healthcare, youth employability and empowering women in more than 2,000 underserved communities across 25 Indian states.