APPL Foundation is a societal organisation who is committed in many ways to the well-being of people working on and around tea plantations in Assam (Northeast India). The organisation was founded by the tea company APPL (Amalgamated Plantation Private Limited).
We have expanded our cooperation with APPL Foundation and in 2021, skin infections were combatted on 6 tea plantations in Assam (Northeast India). In the monsoon period, the humidity is so high that the clothing barely dries. People work in damp (under)clothing for too long, which quickly results in skin infections. Research shows that on average, 20% of people living on tea plantations copes with such an infection.
Education meetings and treatments have resulted in a strong decline of infections on 5 out of the 6 plantations. A part of the success was the fact that a great deal of attention was paid to personal contact. People were visited at home and, when necessary, treated immediately, and workshops were held. Some people tended to hide their infection, but thanks to the meetings, the taboo on the subject was removed even further. In addition, the usage of home-made remedies was reduced and thanks to professional medical assistance, an infection could be lessened in a short period in more cases.
On 6 tea plantations, they got into contact with over 7300 people: that is over 31 percent of the total population. On some plantations, good results were achieved. For instance, on the ‘Nahorkutia’ plantation, the number of infected people was reduced from 128 to 8. Here, extra undergarments were distributed and the call to wash close more frequently was taken to heart. On the ‘Chota Tingrai’ plantation, the results were disappointing. The number of infections even rose, and the suspicion is that this was caused by a relatively large influx of workers who worked and lived on the plantation temporarily. Another factor is the covid pandemic, which did not allow the education meetings to take continue taking place. People did receive medicine and laundry detergent, but due to the lack of education, the desired effect did not occur. For some people, the medicine turned out to have the wrong effects.
The work of the APPL Foundation has ensured that many people on the plantations are more aware of the downsides of viral infections on their health. Taboos were broken and professional medical aid has replaced self-invented remedies. Education meetings were a great success in most cases. They not only ensured better hygiene and a decrease of infections, but they could also be used to counter the spread of the covid virus as much as possible. They killed two birds with one stone.