Stephanie Turpin, Strategic Partnerships Advisor, FHI 360
Sumita Taneja, Country Representative, EpiC India, FHI 360
On February 15, 2023, the Network of Maharashtra by People Living with HIV/AIDS (NMP+) launched TAAL+, the first-ever peer-led e-pharmacy platform in India. Through the e-pharmacy, people living with HIV or other chronic health conditions can order their medicines online for home delivery across India.
Home delivery of medicines is a convenient alternative to in-person pharmacies and a significant timesaver. However, as anyone who has managed a chronic health condition knows, health is about much more than medicine. TAAL+ also provides counseling, follow-up, and stigma-free peer-led psychosocial support that is grounded in the strength of their more than 25-year history as a network of people living with HIV (PLHIV).
The launch of the e-pharmacy was the next step in the organization’s history of innovation. NMP+ was founded in 1997, when seven friends living with HIV joined together for mutual support. In 2006, they launched Treatment, Adherence, Advocacy and Literacy (TAAL) as a peer-led social enterprise which they established with corporate social responsibility partnerships to provide high-quality, affordable, client-friendly access to subsidized HIV diagnostics, treatment, and peer counseling services to PLHIV.
In 2020, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), TAAL transitioned from a community pharmacy to TAAL+, an integrated health center catering to emergent client needs such as mental health, noncommunicable diseases, coinfections like tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, HIV-associated cancers, and access to prevention tools like HIV self-testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis, and post-exposure prophylaxis.
Last year, NMP+, with technical support from FHI 360 under the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) project funded by USAID and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), began the work to take TAAL+ online and create an e-pharmacy able to operate across India. The launch of the e-pharmacy coincides with the 20-year anniversary of PEPFAR support to HIV-related civil society organizations in India, including NMP+.
Manoj Pardesi, founder of TAAL+, said, “USAID’s support is not just a grant for us. It is a mechanism to innovate and to ensure that services reach the unreached, empower people living with HIV and vulnerable communities to take charge of their lives, and help us achieve our shared vision of zero new transmissions.”
As NMP+ looks to the future of their community, they are building a resilient, diversified funding model that blends USAID support with corporate partnerships, revenue from their social enterprise, and private philanthropy to fuel the next phase of their journey.
Featured image: Michael Hankey, Mumbai Consulate General is congratulating Manoj Pardesi, founder of NMP+ and TAAL+, on the launch of the e-pharmacy. Photo by NMP+ and U.S. Consulate, Mumbai, India