Women of SEWA health cooperative manufacture and sell low-cost hand sanitizer against COVID-19

The COVID pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact as we observe a shortage in the supply of health products in the market. This shortage has spiked the prices for basic hygiene products, making it inaccessible for many.  After assessing the market situation and manufacturing capacity of the production unit, Lok Swasthya SEWA Cooperative (LSM) announced the production of low-cost hand sanitizers. Production is currently being carried out in the manufacturing unit, which is entirely women-run. The sanitizers are affordable and certified by the Food & Drug Control Administration.

The sanitizers contain isopropyl alcohol, as per WHO’s recommendation. Along with this, the sanitizers are rich in ayurvedic properties such as tulsi and neem extract, which are antibacterial and antiviral. The sanitizer is being sold through online channels, as well as through LSM medicine shops in Ahmedabad. Currently, production is in full swing and is expected to reach 6000 units (in total, since the start of production) by the end of the week.

LSM’s activities are classified as essential services, thus permitting operations. “The safety of our workers is the top priority for us and we are taking all measures and precautions to ensure their safety. We have reduced the number of workers, to avoid overcrowding and to maintain distance. They are provided with free masks, sanitizers and gloves,” said Ilaben, manager of LSM.

“The decision to start production for sanitizers was a crucial strategy for LSM for two reasons. First being, to ensure a stable income for our members/workers during these difficult times. Many of our members come from economically vulnerable backgrounds and some are the only income earners in the family. Secondly, because there was a high demand for alcohol-based sanitizers, the prices increased making it inaccessible for low-income earners.  We capitalised on this market trend and strategized to produce effective sanitizers for low cost”.

SEWA Federation, which supports LSM, will be purchasing these sanitizers and distributing through kits that comprise face masks, and sanitizers. These kits will be provided to households that cannot access them.

The social distancing measures have impacted revenue generation for LSM. “Lockdown has put our production on halt. But we are taking this as an opportunity to work on new products. As of now, we want to focus on making low-cost sanitizers available in the market for all. But eventually, we will start production of immunity-boosting products”. 

As a healthcare cooperative, LSM was set up with the objectives of providing health information and education alongside helping women and their family access affordable medicine through their chain of low-cost pharmacies in Ahmedabad city. In these challenging times, LSM has been striving to keep operations going in order to make resources available to the communities. LSM has always promoted Ayurveda for and by women and it specialises in manufacturing affordable medical and wellness products that are both Over The Counter (OTC) and consumer products. 

Facebook: @LSMCoop and @SEWAFed
Instagram: @SEWALokSwasthya
Twitter: @SEWAFed

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