In India, children up to 12 years of age constitute 27% of our population. Due to rapid urbanization, this young generating is facing newer health challenges:
- 40% are undernourished & 15% are overweight / obese, reflecting the dual burden of nutrition.
- 20% children have refractory errors, nearly half of which go uncorrected.
- 1 in 8 children have psycho-social disorders, almost all of which go unaddressed.
- 50% children have tooth cavities — a much ignored chronic disease of childhood.
Compounding this problem is the lack of consistent preventive health check-in behaviour, fuelled by out-of-pocket expenditure for services delivered by fragmented private providers. The result is a lack of a comprehensive approach and limited (if any) preventative care. For instance, dental health, vision, and nutrition screenings are frequently missed in the paediatrician’s clinic and are largely absent in many school health screenings.
Although the Government of India mandates all schools and affiliated education boards to invest in the health of its children; including annual health checks, health and life-skills education. However, unfortunately, the government health departments are unable to deliver these elements of preventive health to private schools including those catering to low-income groups.
AddressHealth Clinics is a chain of ‘one stop shop’ child health clinics, offering affordable preventive and primary health services to children through an integrated approach. It was founded by doctor entrepreneurs Dr. Anand Lakshman and Dr. Anoop Radhakrishnan with a vision to ensure that every child attains a state of positive health.
Each clinic is a medical home for children living in a defined geography, providing services for paediatric illnesses, common dental procedures and dental hygiene promotion, vision checks, and vaccinations.
They also include a pharmacy that stocks paediatric drugs and vaccines, children’s eye wear and more, addressing the most frequent needs of their patients. The clinics deliver seamless continuity of care within the community through their comprehensive school health programs that reach out to children in schools and pre-schools, providing screening, health education, nutrition and environment audits, mental health and counselling services.
AddressHealth (as of July 2016) is present in 90 schools and runs 4 clinics in Bengaluru, providing services to over 55,000 children of which, over 30% are from BoP populations.
AddressHealth aims to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare services to one million children by the year 2018 with more than 3 lakhs (300,000) of them belonging to low-income families. They also provide routine illness care, timely immunizations, health education and encourage preventive health behaviours amongst all children.