Can you share with us a brief genesis on the background of ECHO India?
ECHO India was founded in the year 2008, the expanded form ‘Extension for Community Health Outcomes’ is an NGO in New Delhi. ECHO India is part of a larger movement globally called the ECHO Movement which started in Mexico. The basic premise of ECHO is that we want to move knowledge and not the providers and patients; ECHO India works primarily in two areas, Healthcare and Education which accounts to 90% and 10% of our work respectively. The ECHO model is based on four main principles we call them A, B, C and D which stands for ‘Amplification’, ‘Sharing Best Practices’, ‘Case Based Learning’, ‘Data’ respectively!
In terms of A, B, C & D model, how is the working model for ECHO emerging?
The learners in healthcare are either doctors, nurses or healthcare workers on the frontline in the underserved areas. These underserved areas in the country are generally in the rural areas, thus we never directly reach out to patients, we rather reach out to healthcare workers who will be treating the patients. In Education, the focus is on teachers, school principals, and educators, we never reach out directly to the students. In terms of sharing best practices, we serve them with education valid globally for them to execute the best practice. We encourage case based learning and interactive learning sessions, because for us involvement of people is encouraged.
As Network connectivity is a major issue in remote areas, in that case how do you really reach out to underserved areas?
In a way, it is a little bit of limitation to this model but we have tried to overcome in in some ways. Echo India recently ran a program with the ASHA workers in the aspirational district of Gujrat and UP, wherein we faced the challenge of lack of technology and internet connectivity at individual levels. Thus, we rather asked these ASHA Workers to come to their PHC centers once a month or twice a month; where we put a big screen and then the learning took place. At ECHO India, we do nit run programs in an organized and scheduled manner to overcome these challenges.
What are the dynamics of working with other partners and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare with Echo India in terms of health & education?
Some of our partners are AIIMS and PGI Chandigarh; and amongst the government institute we have Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, we stand as a signed partner with them from 2019. Organizations and institutes like ICMR, NHRC, NIHFR, NICPR, NITRD are some of our signed partners. Other than AIIMS Delhi, AIIMS Bhubaneshwar, AIIMS Patna and AIIMS Rishikesh are also our signed partners, and the list goes on. As in India, health is a state matter, thus we have also collaborated with 18 state governments except Mizoram for the ECHO model. We are also partners with six nursing councils across the country. We have also shifted our focus for collaboration of government and private institutions for Education sector.
What is the role of ECHO India in the vaccination drive and achieving the vaccination rate in underserved areas?
When COVID started last year, we started our first ECHO on 28th February, 2020, even before the lockdown started. In the last 2 years, we have trained and helped to train with the help of our partnered institutions over 4lakh healthcare workers, all in aspect of COVID disease in total of over 3,000 sessions and over 4,000 hours. In regard to the vaccination drive, it started on 8th December 2020, we are partners with 13 state governments for the same and have supported 3,68 sessions at around 85,386 sites and the total learners which have been trained were more than 1,61,040.
What partners has ECHO India worked with for the vaccination drive and other vaccine related programs?
ECHO India has not done it alone, but we have done this in partnership with the State Governments, and in some of the states there also have been other partners. In Rajasthan, we have partnered with UNDP, we have also partnered in a limited way with UNICEF. We have also run a couple of special sessions as a joint collaboration with Ministry and AIIMS Delhi and we ran a 4-day session called ‘The Clinical Excellence Program’ the moderator was Dr. Randeep Guleria himself, and it was a success with over 1,000 attendances achieved.
What all training mechanism has ECHO India organized in terms of other prevalent diseases other than COVID?
In the field of Tuberculosis, ECHO India has supported for the last 4 years, we have established 30 hubs for this and all with the collaborations of State Governments and STOs. We are also planning to establish another 10 in the next 2 months in collaboration with another half a dozen national and international partners. Secondly, we are also taking steps for the disease Hepatitis C, many case detection, provision of medicine, publicity collection of samples etc. have been in process.
What are the plans of focus area for ECHO India to be stepping into education?
The good thing about the ECHO model is that it is disease agnostic; whatever is the felt need of the community, the model can be applied for that. The need can never be met, the only solution is to train at all levels.