Driven by the motto ‘Save Lives, Save Environment’, Shankar Subramaniam, a Grade XI student of Primus Public School in Bengaluru, has created an app that can help collect ‘unused’ medicines based on location, segregate them, and donate them to the underprivileged. SaveMed, available on Google Play Store, leverages mobile technology, by enabling centralized crowdsourcing for donation of discarded medicines. The collection is sorted and then channeled to needy recipients and disposal centers through NGOs.
“So far, I have been able to aggregate 10 kg or nearly 7000 Allopathic, Ayurvedic and Homeopathic medicines. I was recently invited to the Halanayakanahalli health camp (in memory of the late Puneet Rajkumar) and Doddakannelli Primary Health Centre, where these medicines were very well received,” said the teenager, who stayed up late at night after schoolwork for a few weeks to develop the app.
Shankar was deeply moved by the distressing visuals on TV and the Internet of the long serpentine queues of people at pharmacies and hospitals during the second wave of Covid-19 in India, earlier this year. The crisis, intensified by the shortage of medicines and black market operations, underscored the need for more equitable distribution and access to critical medical resources, such as medicines.
The eureka moment for the young technology enthusiast was when some of the maintenance staff in his apartment had trouble procuring basic medicines due to non-availability at the pharmacies. “My family helped them out by donating the medicines at home. Around the same time, I also saw the maintenance staff clearing out medicines discarded in the garbage,” he recalled.
Research shows that with the dumping of unused medicines, greater than 99.9% of active pharmaceutical ingredients disposed in a landfill, are permanently retained. “This not only pollutes the groundwater, but is also a wastage of valuable medicines,” said Shankar.
SaveMed aims to solve the dual problem. The app has served 300+ people so far, with collection centers currently operational in Bengaluru and Chennai. Shankar’s engineer father, who works with an IT company, and his homemaker mother helped spread the word through social media.
“The impact this initiative has made on people’s lives has only motivated me further. Together, we can make a meaningful impact on our community and society,” said the young student who is keen to find an innovative and scientific solution to the climate change challenge and encourage sustainable living.
Shankar urges people to take a few minutes to go over their medicine cabinets at home and contribute to the initiative. You can also partner with SaveMed or volunteer to conduct a drive in your neighbourhood.
• The app aggregates ‘unused’ medicines based on location. It provides a list of collection hub centers in the neighbourhood, where contributors can donate medicines that meet published acceptance criteria.
• The app re-purposes the medicines, as per medical guidelines, for the underprivileged sections of the society.
• The app facilitates centralized collection and suitable disposal of unused medicines that cannot be repurposed.
-Brand Desk Content