Garbage In, Healthcare Out

“We are building a system for management of garbage in communities,” said Gamal Albinsaid, age 24, founder of the social enterprise Garbage Clinical Insurance (CGI).

GCI collects, repurposes or disposes people's garbage at a cheaper-than-government rate. In return it provides quality health services at no extra charge, including primary care at local clinics, family planning, nutrition consultations, in-school health advocacy, home visits for patients with chronic illnesses, and even telemedicine consultations with licensed doctors—uncommon in emerging markets.

“It's a micro-health insurance program," Abinsaid said. "Communities give garbage to us and pay a premium—about IDR 10,000 ($0.83). We convert the money to health fund and we give back to them in the form of health financing.”

Abinsaid set up GCI to help communities in need turn their household waste into something that could improve their health. It might sound unusual, but it works. GCI has already helped more than 2,000 people in Indonesia gain access to medical support.

A young doctor himself, Albinsaid is also founder and CEO of Indonesia Medika, a health development organization. He has conducted a wealth of scientific and social work, and been honored with several awards, including the Inspiring Scientific Award from the research and technological minister of Indonesia, and the AusAID Indonesian Social Innovator Award.

On becoming a finalist in the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards, he said: “May this be a goodness which brings more goodness. Let’s help people until we can’t.”

Turning waste into well-being

GCI encourages people to collect their household waste and submit their refuse to one of five GCI-accredited centers where it is processed: organic waste is converted to fertilizer and the inorganic waste is sold to collectors. A month’s worth of refuse can generate close to 10,000 Indonesian rupiah.

These funds helps pay for a patient’s treatment and operate a healthcare program and clinical services for the community, providing families with access to doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists and health volunteers. To date, GCI has recruited 88 volunteers, 15 doctors, and 12 nurses, all of whom are paid with refuse from the community.

Read more here.

Gamal Albinsaid is one of seven finalists in the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards that will be featured on Virgin.com in the coming weeks. Learn about the other finalists and share your own project.