Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR Program: Connecting Sichuan

Devastated region renewed with human and technology networks

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An 8.0 earthquake turned into a humanitarian crisis in 2008 when millions of people in Sichuan Province, China were left homeless and fragile healthcare systems collapsed. Cisco partnered with more than 40 government agencies and other organizations to rebuild healthcare and education systems with 21st century connections, empowering millions to revitalize their region.

What: Connecting the unconnected

The magnitude of the devastation was astounding: 4.8 million people homeless, 7000 schools destroyed, 68,000 people lost their lives, 375,000 wounded, and all mobile, land-based and Internet connections cut off. Isolated even before the earthquake, healthcare and education systems were either destroyed or completely unconnected by the May 2008 earthquake.

  • Immediate humanitarian relief donated by Cisco, our employees, and the Cisco Foundation topped US$2.6 million.
  • A 3-year, $50 million pledge by Cisco addressed the long-term challenge to help Sichuan Province become stronger and more resilient.
  • Networking solutions, employee expertise, and financial resources became central to the transformation of education, healthcare and workforce development in the region.

How: A public-private partnership transforms a region

Cisco worked closely with government officials, community leaders, and industry advisors to develop and implement innovative solutions that could be scaled and replicated throughout Sichuan and beyond. Connecting Sichuan bridges the gap between urban and rural by connecting healthcare sites and providers, connecting teachers and schools, and developing ICT professional expertise to sustain the investment while empowering people with new career opportunities. 

  • 10 Chinese and U.S. government agencies, and 33 business, non-governmental, and private sector partners worked together through Connecting Sichuan.
  • 66 healthcare organizations in 3 regions, 32 “smart” hospitals, and 3 mobile clinics have been connected to support collaboration, care-at-a-distance, and better access to quality care.
  • A team of experts helped design 1140 model technology-enabled classrooms for 135,000 students, and trained 4500 teachers to modernize instruction.
  • 26 Cisco TelePresence sites have helped 112,000 teachers collaborate with peers, mentors, and leaders via the professional development network.
  • Eight virtual education broadcast centers connect rural students to new subjects and expert teachers in city centers.
  • 51 Networking Academy programs established at local schools, 25 funded by the program, educated 7400 students in the first three years.

Impact multiplied

Ongoing studies show the 3-year investment has had a lasting impact on more than 60 million people by empowering them with better access to quality healthcare, education, and connecting them to the world. Connecting Sichuan helped build 21st century, technology-enabled models of healthcare and education that have been replicated throughout China and beyond.

  • Bridging the gap to care, more than 7000 practitioners now use technology-enabled healthcare facilities to provide care to 295,000 patients each month.
  • In Wenchuan the average patient saved US$45 (equivalent to 22% of the average monthly income) and nearly 6 hours by getting care-at-a-distance through Cisco TelePresence.
  • 30% of mobile clinic patients diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes, and gall bladder and kidney stones in one 6-month period did not know of their conditions prior to health screenings.
  • 24% increase in university admission rates; 211% increase in teachers’ professional development performance; and a 399% increase in student competition performance according to a 2013 comparative study of educational outcomes.
  • In April 2013, Connecting Sichuan mobile clinics were deployed to Sichuan Ya’an to treat 2201 earthquake victims.
  • In 2013, Cisco received a Ten-Year Recognition Award for Outstanding Contribution in Corporate Social Responsibility from the 21st Century Business Herald.

“Connecting Sichuan serves as a role model for how a multinational company can successfully participate in post-quake reconstruction.” Huang Xiaoxiang, Vice Governor of Sichuan

“Our ability to accurately diagnose patients in rural locations is dramatically improved thanks to collaborative healthcare technologies. Remote access to expert care is truly saving lives.” Dr. Wang Songbai, President, Wenchuan People’s Hospital

Networks Improve Healthcare in China Sichuan Healthcare Video >
Networks Improve Education, Healthcare, and Job Prospects in China Connecting Sichuan Video >