This profile was prepared when Sharafat Azad was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Azad is developing a system of support and care for occupation-related diseases across India. Beginning with dust induced silicosis, Azad has designed a pilot model of treatment and rehabilitation that he plans to adapt to other occupational diseases. From getting silicosis recognized by the government as an occupational health hazard (one of only twenty-nine diseases so far to be so recognized as such), to helping health care institutions diagnose and treat the disease, Azad is ensuring that all of the existing machinery works effectively to resolve the burgeoning crisis of occupational health in the growing industrial labor market of India. Through his extensive research and application of existing data, Azad is helping the government, business and civil society to recognize the scale and implications of silicosis-related diseases in the mining and road-building industries. From his initial work with victims of silicosis in the Lal Quan stone crushing units of Delhi, Azad has created a model to help address the work-related hazards attached to this occupation across the country. He has founded a clinic for occupational disease in Lal Quan, and a training center for occupational health in Delhi that trains doctors to diagnose and treat silicosis patients. Azad is currently working with three state governments to help replicate his Lal Quan rehabilitation model. Combining efforts to inform and pressure the government with an effort targeted at doctors, workers, and employers, Azad is opening a whole new space in India for the field of informal worker protection and care.