by T. Kalyani on November 24, 2014 at 3:35 PM
Mr. Sunil Wadhwani, a philanthropist and angel investor
based in Pittsburgh, USA, and Chairman and Co-founder of IGATE Corporation USA
founded the Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare or WISH Foundation.
Recently, the SCALE Healthcare Innovations summit convened by the WISH
Foundation was held in Delhi.
The summit brought together over
three hundred national, state, community, and international leaders from
government, private sector, and development partners, social enterprises,
healthcare innovators, academia and media, who form the healthcare ecosystem,
to support the scale up. The goals for the summit included learning how to
scale up, promising healthcare innovations
capable of changing the
healthcare paradigm for the poor and significantly contributing to achieve the
commitment of India to ensure health for all. The timing was impeccable as news
reports indicate the Union Government's keen interest in inviting private
stakeholders under the National Rural Heath Mission.
the summit, Dr. Vishwa Mohan Katoch, Secretary, Department of Health Research
& Director General, ICMR, said, "We must ensure that affordable
technologies benefit a large number of people. As a representative of the
government, we assure you our partnership." Niraj Kumar Pawan, an IAS officer
and Director of National Health Mission, Rajasthan, while sharing his
experiences, said that it was high time we give up on the age old procedures.
He also discussed the social and cultural prejudices that affect a girl child
in India and the need to tackle these issues adding that every time a girl
child is born to a family, a greeting signed by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan
is despatched to the home of the newborn. Another one of Rajasthan's
initiatives, the mother and child tracking system, which started out on a
simple spreadsheet, has been scaled up and undertaken by the National Health
Mission. The model, now popularly known as Mother and Child Tracking System
, is being replicated across the country.
A 2012 study by Federation of
Indian Chambers of Commerce Industry (FICCI), an association of business
organization, and the consultants Ernst and Young, estimated that the universal
health coverage of India was feasible in a decade and this required the
Government's expense on health to rise to 3.7-4.5 percent of India's GDP. While
it is important for the Government to provide primary healthcare facilities to
its citizens, the issues of affordability and accessibility should be addressed
and resolved. At present, 39 million people are pushed below the poverty line
every year because of the unaffordability of healthcare. Public Private
Partnerships (PPP) in the healthcare sector definitely seems like a feasible
solution to tackle the burden of expenditure on the poor and the public sector.
Sanjeev K Chaudhury, Managing Director, SRL Diagnostics said, "We need to add a
fourth pillar to the PPP model, that is, Philanthropy. It is important to
provide cost-effective and quality healthcare to the poor."
Some of the key components and
aspects discussed in the summit include the following:
- Innovation in technology and processes is required for the deliverance of
inexpensive and quality healthcare services for a rapidly changing India.
- Scaling up Healthcare Innovations to strengthen Preventive and Primary
Healthcare Delivery in India.
- Bringing out specific action points to address the challenges of scaling up
promising healthcare innovations to revitalize primary healthcare delivery in
- An Innovation Showcase where
innovators and enterprises displayed their innovations.
- If quality healthcare services are implemented properly, 42 of every 1000
infants will be prevented from dying before their first birthday and 58 of 1000
infants before their fifth. And an estimated 178 of 100,000 pregnant women will
be saved from pregnancy and childbirth related deaths.
- Path-breaking ideas such as the health ATMs that are automatic kiosk-typed
diagnostic center, designed holistically to address primary healthcare
requirements were discussed. The health vending machines will have an attached
cabin to provide diagnostic services like testing body vitals etc.
ACCESS Health International, Center for Health Market
Innovation's (CHMI) partner in India, was present at the summit to collaborate
on the SCALE Rajasthan project. With CHMI's support, ACCESS and WISH aim to
build relationships between private health providers and government officials
for effective public-private partnership formation. Mr. Wadhwani
said, "WISH commits to raise a $100 million healthcare innovation fund
which would accelerate the scale up of 50-100 innovators over the next 10
years." If the innovative ideas and collaborations of this summit are
successful, then the Indian healthcare sector will receive the much-needed
improvement that it has been craving for.