How a Chicago based startup is working towards eradicating Thalassemia in the world

Sahave Blog

What started off as a personal passion for Chicago-based Pradeep Kandimalla turned into a full-fledged business when he chose to use his 20-years experience working as the IT director of a nonprofit to solve tangible problems in the way nonprofits operate the world over. Thus was born SAHAVE – a startup focussed on bringing the world closer through volunteering, one step at a time. During the research that went into SAHAVE, Pradeep discovered that there are many diseases which are 100% preventable if only people knew a little more information about their own bodies. One among many such diseases is Thalassemia.

A little known fact about Thalassemia is that the disease perpetuates from carriers to offspring’s in the event of two carriers having a child together. All it takes for the condition to stop perpetuating further is people having the information as to whether an individual is a Thalassemia carrier through a regular and straightforward blood test. However, in the event of a child being affected by Thalassemia, it takes regular blood transfusions to extend their life based on how severe their condition is. The costs are expensive since the patient needs consistent healthcare every single month, which most families are unable to bear, especially in resource-starved countries like India, where the project is set to take off.

We were told that SAHAVE has taken a multi-faceted approach towards the issue something that no society or nonprofit has done before. The solution is two-fold :
1. Spread awareness about Thalassemia and how people can prevent its onset
2. Spread awareness about the importance of blood donation for the affected patients
3. Partner with educational institutions and corporates to form self-governed clubs to ensure the sustainability of the movement.

SAHAVE has developed a simple-to-use mobile application that can be used by a blood donor, and be notified about the requirement of blood. The app is adaptive to the data entered in it, and only sends the user notifications basis their last donation date (since every donor is only eligible to donate blood once every three months.)

Equipped with an experienced team of social workers who have worked closely within the college student demographic, SAHAVE plans to conduct awareness drives and talks in colleges across Hyderabad educating about the preventive methods.

They aim to use the power of social media and the varied digital spaces to increase outreach, mobile blood donors, and leverage overall change in society. The idea is to produce high quality, ‘edutaining’ content in video formats that would not just be entertaining to watch but informative with a specific and easy call to action at the end of the posts. The content involves insights from the affected children and leaders in the social work field to encourage engagement further.

SAHAVE has partnered with leading blood banks and societies that work for the welfare of the affected patients and their families, providing blood for regular transfusions and medicines at subsidized rates. It is highly essential, as according to news reports, the cost each month for tending to the health of an affected child can run into around Rs 25,000. However, the average income of a poor person in India is only Rs 27 a day. With the exponential rise in everyday items like food and other basic amenities, healthcare is a far fetched dream for most citizens. With SAHAVE’s approach, this movement could potentially transform the lives of thousands of affected children and their families.