International Labour Organization Video on Naya Jeevan and Unilever
On a trip from the United States to his native Pakistan, Dr. Asher Hasan bore witness to his family’s maid undergoing a medical crisis when her husband, the primary breadwinner for the family, fell victim to a stroke. The resulting financial crisis, including significant medical expenses, pushed her children out of school and into the workforce. Remarking on how bright and capable her children were, Asher learned up close how birth and opportunity often go hand in hand.
Called to action, Asher founded Naya Jeevan, a sustainable social enterprise that provides health insurance coverage for low-income, urban workers. Through a cost-sharing mechanism, corporations, intermediaries and end-users each contribute $0.5 to $3 per person each month for full family access to a nationwide network of private healthcare facilities, a physician staffed 24 hour tele-health hotline, medical screenings, health workshops, and access to a philanthropic rescue fund. Medical coverage provides access to preventative services such as annual health assessments and complex interventional procedures including heart bypass surgery and treatment for trauma and major pregnancy complications.
Unilever serves as a key partner to Naya Jeevan by enrolling thousands of participants in the “Sustainable Living Beyond Borders” health and wellness program. The program was launched in 2012 with over 1,250 independent distributors and has since been scaled to impact 4,000 lives. The model is being replicated across 112 other organizations, including 12 large corporations to impact more than 200,000 people by 2020.
Through this collaboration, Naya Jeevan has successfully jumpstarted a movement to provide a humane, healthy working environment for informal workers that are associated with corporate value chains. The program is now being replicated in Mexico under the Spanish name ‘Nueva Vida’, ensuring that workers and their families are protected under a health insurance and wellness program with 24/7 access to family doctors, counselors and patient navigators. Asher and the Naya Jeevan team works persistently to expand their network, one patient at a time, so that one day no one in Pakistan and the rest of the developing world will face a financial crisis due to a medical event.