Ericsson and IIHS Fights the COVID-19 Pandemic in Tamil Nadu

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Chennai, December 11, 2020: Ericsson, in collaboration with the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), flagged off an initiative aimed at supporting the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to over 4,000 sanitation workers across 13 Urban Local Bodies in Tamil Nadu. This initiative will also see the creation of digital-blended training as well as communication material to enable effective use of the PPE kits together with awareness creation around general health and social welfare topics amongst the sanitation workers and their families.

The initiative will indirectly benefit one million people who are served by the 4,000+ sanitation workers and is expected to be completed by January 14, 2021. It is also supported by the Government with The Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Program (TNUSSP) team identifying the components of the PPE kit, such as face masks, nitrile gloves, headbands, wristbands, and disinfectant soaps that are uniquely designed for sanitation workers to safely practise their occupations.

Uma Maheshwari Ramachandran, Joint Director (Admin), Directorate of Town Panchayats, IIHS states, “Indian Institute of Human Settlements is supporting Government of Tamil Nadu through TNUSSP for the past five years on urban sanitation involving FSTP implementation, co-treatment, capacity building for ULB officials. Considering the importance of sanitation workers, Ericsson India Global Service Pvt. Ltd in coordination with Indian Institute of Human Settlements is providing the Personal Protective Equipment, which should be utilised regularly by the sanitation workers. This would ensure the safety of sanitation workers and also others.”

Amitabh Ray, Managing Director, Ericsson Global Services states, “Sanitation workers have been at the frontline in the battle against the pandemic and are among the most vulnerable to contact COVID-19 from discarded waste. By financially supporting this initiative as part of our ongoing CSR programme, we hope to help improve safeguards to their health.”

The Digital Blended Learning team and Media Lab at IIHS have designed and produced a set of videos in Tamil that will instruct the sanitation workers on the effective practices of PPE use, maintenance, and disposal.

Aromar Revi, Director, IIHS added, “The initiative is intended to reduce the risk of infections among sanitation workers, while also affording them a greater sense of dignity as they carry out their duties. Through this collaboration with Ericsson and support from the Government, we aim to improve the safety standards for sanitation workers in Tamil Nadu and also hope other States can emulate this initiative to benefit frontline workers especially in these crucial times.”

Apart from sanitation workers, around 1000 individuals including professionals from the sanitation and development sectors, academics, government officials and NGOs are a part of this initiative in various educational and operational capacities.