the3h - Hum Hain Hindustani
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India's higher education system needs drastic changes to address tech-induced challenges | Daijiworld.com, 13 nov 2018
Inflation lowest in year, but it may not be good news | Hindustan Times, 13 nov 2018
Two Indian supercomputers among top 100 supercomputers | The Economic Times, 13 nov 2018
Privatisation and Higher Education in India | Mainstream Weekly, 12 nov 2018
There's a new programme to tackle rural youth unemployment in India | India Today, 12 nov 2018
Is Dr. AI The Upcoming Go-To Healthcare Practitioner In India? | Businessworld, 12 nov 2018
Agribusiness: The latest sector embracing digital technology | Fortune, 12 nov 2018
Online pharmacies are helping to lower health costs in India | The Economic Times, 11 nov 2018
How higher US interest rates hurt the Indian economy | Livemint, 11 nov 2018
Advocates of private healthcare seek 'public' support | DownToEarth, 09 nov 2018
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 oct 2018
Indian corporates that fulfil the conditions of Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 relating to mandatory spending of 2% of last 3 years average profit on CSR are making a difference in vulnerable communities in India. According to the latest India CSR Outlook Report published by NGOBOX, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, Wipro, Tata Steel, NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation & ONGC spent more than their prescribed CSR budgets in FY 2017-18. The report analyzed CSR spends of 359 companies. The prescribed CSR budget of these 359 companies was Rs 9543.51 crore whereas the actual CSR spend was Rs 8875.93 crore (3/4th of total CSR spend in India). There is an increase in the prescribed CSR from 6% to 8% in the actual CSR spend from FY 16-17 and the number of projects have also increased by 25% from the previous year. REPORT HIGHLIGHTS: Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat together received over 1/4th of India's total CSR fund. North-eastern states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have received least funds; Public sector contribution is over 1/4th of the total; Oil, refinery and petrochemicals account for alsmost 1/4th of the total while healthcare and pharma contributes the least with just Rs 294 crore; CSR funding on education and skill increased by 50% from last year and is 1/3rd of the total CSR spend; Over 1/4th is spend on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and healthcare projects. Read on...
Corporates spend 50% CSR funds in education, skill development: Report
Author: Sonal Khetarpal
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 sep 2018
India's large size with huge population (1.25 billion), substantial part of which resides in rural and underdeveloped regions, brings both challenges and opportunities for implementing healthcare policies and initiatives, both public and private. Over the years ineffective implementation of such initiatives at various levels, has created lopsided infrastructure and uneven development in healthcare. Indian health system also lacks effective payment mechanism and has a high out-of-pocket expenditure (roughly 70%). Adverse health events (health shocks) have considerable impact on India's overall poverty figures, adding about seven percentage points. Health is associated with the overall wellness of the citizens. Good health reflects on the productivity and growth of the nation. More so in the case of India as substantial population is young. India has more than 50% (about 662 million) of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. By 2020, the average age of India's population is expected to be 29 years. Aging of this large population will happen at the same time. Having adequate infrastructure is key to avoid a massive health catastrophe for this elderly population in future. Health is also a key issue in the public policy sphere. In the public policy context healthcare issues are often related to accessibility, affordability, socio-economic disparities, healthcare delivery mechanisms, illness and diseases and their impact on society etc. India have a conceptual universal health care system run by the constituent states and union territories. The biggest challenge is to make it accessible and affordable for the overall population. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2018
In a developing country like India low-income groups often lack access to proper healthcare. But, mobile technology can provide ways to enable these groups have knowledge and resources to drive preventative healthcare. Lead researchers, Aakash Ganju (co-founder of Avegen), Sumiti Saharan (Neuroscientist, Team Lead of Design & Research at Avegen), Alice Lin (Global Director of social innovation at Johnson & Johnson), Lily W. Lee (President of Almata, a division of Avegen), explain the research conducted by their team on the digital usage patterns of underserved groups in two urban areas of India, and iteratively tested user interface and content design. Researchers generated primary research insights from more than 250 new mothers and fathers living in low-income communities, and achieve understanding of the core barriers and digital needs of this population. Researchers suggest, 'Embedding health care into digital tools requires that providers overcome contextual barriers and undertake deliberate design processes. To succeed, providers must develop a nuanced understanding of the obstacles to consuming information digitally, as well as glean insights from technology, interface design, and behavioral science.' Following are some insights from the research - (1) Cost is no longer the biggest barrier: In the last year, a strong government regulatory authority has promoted competition and consumer benefits that have rapidly driven down both smartphone and data costs. (2) Infrastructure can overcome any remaining cost barriers: Only 5% of people living in less-connected and less-developed localities owned smartphones, compared to a significant 56% of individuals with similar incomes living in neighborhoods with good mobile network and infrastructure. (3) Digital experiences are not often built for low-income, urban populations: The most pervasive barrier to digital adoption in India today is a lack of knowledge about how to use digital interfaces. Language is also a barrier. India has an overall literacy rate of 74%. However, only about 10% of Indians can communicate in English - the language of the Internet. Local language content is scarce. There are gaping holes in the understanding of early-stage user requirements and pain points, from both the digital interface and content experience perspectives. (4) There is a lack of trust in health-related digital information: Low-income, underserved communities who have not been exposed to authentic digital content often have extreme distrust in digital information pertaining to health. Only 12% of families thought information from digital sources was reliable, compared to more than 90% finding information from doctors and mothers to be most, very, or somewhat reliable. According to researchers, to truly meet the needs of underserved consumers, providers must focus on the following areas - (1) High-quality content: To engage users on digital platforms, providers must use differentiated content that connects with a user's specific journey. The form, tone, and continuity of content matters. Video formats optimized for small, low-quality displays are most effective in driving engagement. When visual formats are not feasible, audio formats are the next best alternative. Understand the environments in which users consume health. Include local elements in the content, like referring to local clinics etc. (2) Behavior change: Engaging users is vital to directing changes in consumer health behavior. It's important to be deliberate about the design of the user journey. Offering incentives for content consumption, sharing, and specific health-related behaviors can help nudge users toward desired health-related behaviors. (3) Technology: Mobile apps need to be light and fast, have low memory and data requirements, and be able to run on slow and patchy networks. Display data consumption frequently, enhanced ability to view offline content and share content within community is important for engagement. (4) Design team structure: Multidisciplinary teams that bring together expertise in technology, design, business and sustainability, end-user thinking, and behavioral sciences tend to create the most effective designs. To design for the end user, providers must design with the end user, particularly for populations who are not digitally fluent. Teams should develop a thinking environment and processes that allow for hypothesis development, application design, testing, analytics, and retesting in rapid, parallel, iterative cycles. Read on...
Stanford Social Innovation Review:
Expanding Access to Health Care in India Through Strong Mobile Design
Authors: Aakash Ganju, Sumiti Saharan, Alice Lin Fabiano, Lily W. Lee
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2018
Artificial Intelligence's (AI) potential for healthcare transformation is becoming visible. AI health market is expected to increase exponentially from US$ 600 million in 2014 to US$ 6.6 billion by 2021. Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO of YES Bank and Chairman of YES Global Institute, explains how AI can redefine and revolutionize healthcare and transform existing healthcare sytems into 'smart wellness' delivery mechanisms. In the context of India, he says, 'With the Indian healthcare market estimated to grow to US$ 372 billion by 2022, coupled with growing healthcare needs of a 1.3 billion strong population, successfully leveraging AI, is vital to catapulting the 'healthcare of today' into the 'health-tech of tomorrow'.' He provides four ways AI can catalyze change in healthcare - (1) Economising healthcare costs through machine learning and big data. Integrating big data with wellness could potentially save the healthcare industry up to US$ 100 billion per year. (2) Merging cognitive computing and healthcare can potentially mitigate estimated global shortage of 12.9 million healthcare professionals by 2035. AI-powered applications can augment the services of physicians and expand healthcare outreach at affordable costs. (3) Enhanced diagnosis and identification of diseases. Through algorithms and analysis of big data patterns, AI can detect trends to enhance disease diagnosis and create treatment plans in order to efficiently streamline the healthcare needs of a patient. (4) AI and Internet of Things (IoT) can lead to personalization and more patient-centric approach to healthcare. Wearable gadgets powered by AI can capture and store health data of individuals and play an important role in preventive treatment. Mr. Rana further suggests, 'In India, where we rank a lowly 154th in the Healthcare Access and Quality Index, we must make collaborative efforts to unlock the potential of AI to create an enabling health technology ecosystem to match demand, optimise costs, and demonstrate value.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 feb 2018
Challenges in healthcare provide opportunities to create new business models. Home healthcare is one such model that is currently getting more organized and seeking success in India's healthcare ecosystem. According to Cyber Media Research (CMR), the market stood at around US$ 3.20 billion in 2016, and is expected to grow to around US$ 4.46 billion by 2018 and US$ 6.21 billion in 2020. Vivek Srivastava, CEO and co-founder of Healthcare atHome, says, 'Home healthcare services are an extension of hospital services into the patient's house and providing personalized care by competent professionals. Home healthcare companies work with hospitals to widen their reach, by freeing the beds for new patients while covering almost 70% of all healthcare requirements of a consumer and extending to management of lifestyle and chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension etc. over a consumer's lifetime. Its advantages include cost effectiveness with excellent clinical outcomes as customers end up saving 20-50% costs as compared to regular hospital treatment depending upon the services taken...it includes customized care plans prescribed by the patient's doctor; quicker patient recovery; and professional protocol-led healthcare.' Rajiv Mathur, Founder CCU (Critical Care Unified) Health Care, says, 'Interconnectivity through devices and portability of treatments and equipments makes it feasible to provide critical care at the comfortable environs of home. Patients receive individualized care designed to meet their specific needs. Home health care enables people to recuperate in the comfort and privacy of their own home, at a cost savings of 36-50% over hospitalization or nursing home confinement.' Rajit Mehta, CEO and MD of Max Healthcare, says, 'The demand for at-home healthcare delivery is growing. At the same time, quality post-operative care in familiar surroundings has been observed to enable faster patient recovery.' Prof. Arup Mitra of Health Policy Research Unit (HPRU) at Institute of Economic Growth, says, 'Home healthcare is becoming a brisk business nowadays. As elderly population in the country is increasing very fast and more and more people want to have better social positioning, facilities such as home healthcare seem very flashy at face value and is manifestation of people's social status. It is in a preliminary stage and may prove to be an illusion in future as there is no guarantee of risks and insurance involved.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2017
According to the recent UNICEF report, 'Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017', India has witnessed 66% decline in the under-5 mortality rate from 1990 to 2015 but most of the newborn deaths (24% of all) still occur in the country. With this reduction India has met one of its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. The report emphasised the need for equitable access to healthcare for girl child as under-5 mortality for girls in India remains 12.5% higher than the boys. Major barriers in seeking healthcare for the girl child include the high out-of-pocket expenses and cultural issues. The report stressed that investment in the education of the girl child is crucial and acknowledged that 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' scheme could be used for addressing the prevailing negative social norms towards the girl child in India. The report said that most of newborn deaths occurred in two regions: South Asia (39%) and sub-Saharan Africa (38%). Read on...
66% decline in child mortality rate but most newborn still die in India: UN report
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 oct 2017
India's medical research is a cause of concern. According to the study, 'The research output from Indian medical institutions between 2005 and 2014' (Authors: Samrat Ray, Ishan Shah, Samiran Nundy; Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, India), published in 2016 in the Current Medicine Research & Practice journal, 'Only 25 (4.3%) of the institutions produced more than 100 papers a year but their contribution was 40.3% of the country's total research output. 332 (57.3%) of the medical colleges did not have a single publication during this period.' Authors used the SCOPUS database and analyzed the research output from 579 Indian medical institutions and hospitals. Peter Ashman, CEO of BMJ, explains, 'The academic vigour of any educational institution can be measured by its research output, the number of patents being filed, and how quickly research can translate into innovation. The next steps, that is commercialization and wide-scale adoption can follow and may take years, but first and foremost, there needs to be a robust research pipeline. For researchers in healthcare, it is important to have access to publishing tools, and programs that train them to develop core clinical research skills, and provide guidance in how to publish.' Clinicians need credible knowledge and research content, and continuously learn to stay competitive and relevant. India is undergoing rapid transformation in mobile and internet technologies. Digital tools can help customize the content for specific requirements. Mr. Ashman says, 'We believe that doctors need access to evidence based, updated and peer-reviewed content which deals with everyday issues in primary care and hospital medicine. The content delivery cycle should be mapped to the clinicians work schedule. E-learning platforms can help facilitate the access to education to doctors, right when they need it.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2017
The survey report 'India Digital Health Report 2017' by D Yellow Elephant (DYE), a digital and social media firm, analyzes India's 160 leading healthcare companies on the basis of their online presence, engagement levels and relevancy on 12 major online platforms. The survey categorized companies into three sections based on their performance - Digial Primes; Digital Aspirants; Digital Onlookers. Among pharmaceuticals, Pfizer topped the Digital Prime category. In diagnostics segment, Apollo Diagnostic is the leader. While, in the hospital segment, Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Centre topped the category. The report placed 14% of the companies in the Digital Prime category, 54% in Digital Aspirants and 32% in Digital Onlookers. The report also finds that internet penetration in India is currently 35% with 23% Y-on-Y growth in its users. By 2020, India is expected to be home to 730 million internet users with as many as 175 million online shoppers. DYE projects healthcare sector in India growing at a fast pace and is currently values at US$ 100 billion. The sector is expected to touch US$ 280 billion by 2020 at a CAGR growth of 23%. Moreover, private equity and venture capital funding in the sector has gone up by 13 times from US$ 94 million in 2011 to US$ 1275 million in 2016, with an increase of 2.27% against 1.97% in overall health budget. Read on...
Elets eHealth Magazine:
Survey reveals the digital health of Indian healthcare sector
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 jun 2017
Healthcare analytics can help in building better patient-doctor relationships for better health outcomes, achieving better operational efficiencies, personalization at a larger scale, targeted customer acquisition and more. Madhu Aravind, CEO of Searchlight Health, explores India's healthcare analytics scenario and what impact it can have in addressing the challenges faced by India's healthcare ecosystem. India's healthcare have some fundamental issues - Cost of healthcare is increasing at 20%; Shortage of 1.5 million doctors and 2 million hospital beds; Only about 5% of the middles class have health insurance. According to Mr. Aravind, 'If healthcare analytics needs to have an impact in India, then it has to tackle some of these fundamental issues...If one can aggregate information from multiple sources and build models that leverage these technologies (Natural Language Processing; Imgage recognition; Speech analysis; Large-scale computing power), then real value creation is possible.' FOR HOSPITALS: Customer acquitisition; Operational efficieny; Clinical delivery. 'The advent of digitization, abundant computing power and new age machine learning models, will enable the formulation of principles from observations from millions of people, creating the foundation for personalized medicine.' FOR INSURERS: Increase middle class coverage; Create customized products; 'Understand disease propensity in detail and also fully model the cost of care needed to manage various conditions.' FOR PHARMACEUTICAL SECTOR: Real world evidence to power R&D, clinical trials etc. India's healthcare analytics faces challenges - Lack of skilled talent; HealthTech spending is less than 1% of the health organization's budget. Read on...
The Economic Times:
Healthcare analytics in India - Opportunities and challenges
Author: Madhu Aravind
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 feb 2017
According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian healthcare industry is currently pegged at around US$ 158 billion and is expected to hit US$ 280 billion by 2020. Alpna Doshi, CIO at Philips, while recently speaking on 'Digitalization of Healthcare' at NASSCOM India Leadership Forum, says, 'Unequal access, poor quality and rising costs are three key challenges faced by the healthcare industry.' She adds that these challenges are bringing new opportunities, particularly in the area where technology and healthcare converge. Predictive analytics, home-based healthcare, remote health monitoring with mobile devices and applications, are some prominent areas. Som Mittal, former President and Chairman of NASSCOM, says, 'While access to all will be there as connectivity improves, how can we make healthcare affordable?' And for this, he comments that technology needs to be responsible, citing high margins that are charged for medical devices. Ms. Doshi adds that healthcare companies cannot survive on lower margins, unless the volumes justify those margins. Tie ups with NGOs she said, was one way to increase volumes and thereby bring down costs. Automation in healthcare industry will become more prevalent. She points out that augmented reality and artificial intelligence will further disrupt the healthcare industry. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2016
Indian researchers, Naveen Kumar Malik of the Department of Electronics and Communication at Maharshi Dayanand University and V. R. Singh of the National Physical Laboratory, recently provided details about their 'Human Inspired Cognitive Wheelchair Navigation System' in the International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation. According to the researchers, 'The novel wheelchair navigation system can make the movable chairs avoid obstacles on their own and also sense when the user is tired or stressed. The smart wheelchair could also monitor user's heart rate, temperature or other vital signs for diagnostic purposes. The commercial version of the prototyped autonomous wheelchair would reduce the burden on care-giving staff in healthcare industry and improve the quality of life for disabled persons.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 sep 2016
According to the conditions set forth in the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Law in India, all companies with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or revenue of Rs 1000 cr or net profit of Rs 5 cr should spend 2% of last 3 years average profit on charity work. CSR management firm, NextGen, studied the annual reports of the top 100 firms by market capitalizations on NSE (National Stock Exchange) for 2014-15 & 91 firms for 2015-16. The total spend on CSR activities for 91 firms is Rs 6033 cr for FY16, while it was Rs 4760 cr by 100 companies in FY15. According to Abhishek Humbad, co-founder of NextGen, 'More and more companies are realizing that not meeting 2% makes them look bad, and for large companies, it can turn out be a reputational risk.' The energy sector accounted for nearly 26% of the total CSR spending. Reliance was the largest spender in FY16, using 2.3% of its profit (Rs 652 cr) on education, health and other social activities. Jagannatha Kumar at chairman's office of RIL says, 'The amount spent on each of the focus areas varies on an annual basis depending on the scope of work for the year.' In FY16 RIL spend on healthcare halved to Rs 314 cr while on education it increased to Rs 215 cr from Rs 18 cr in FY15. According to Parul Soni of Thinkthrough Consulting, a CSR consultancy, 'Manufacturing companies like automotive have been well poised to do CSR because they focus on communities around their plants and it helps build engagement with local communities. Also, many of them are working in skill development.' Some of the top causes that corporates spend on are healthcare, poverty eradication, education, skill development, rural development, and environment. Noshir Dadrawala, CEO of Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy, says, 'Skills have been trendy. These causes have seen an increase because many of the skilling initiatives instead of being classified as an education initiative is being put under providing employment and reducing poverty. Also when it comes to healthcare, conducting blood donation camps is a popular way of doing CSR as it is easy and effective.' Ravi Chellam, ED of Greenpeace, points out that environment is not a priority issue for most Indian corporates. He says, 'On environmental issues, companies seem to prefer to focus on either their own campuses or areas immediately surrounding their locations.' According to Loveleen Kacker, CEO of Tech Mahindra Foundation, '50% of all our CSR capital goes into empowering women and another 10% for the disabled. We believe that any development can happen in any of the areas - from nutrition to sanitation, only when women are empowered. And we feel only economic empowerment of women can bring about social empowerment.' The top geographical regions that were beneficiary of CSR funds for FY16 are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Vinod Kulkarni, head of CSR at Tata Motors Ltd, says, 'It is part of our policy to invest CSR funds in geographies in close proximity to our area of operation. It amplifies the outcomes and impact.' Arun Nagpal, co-founder of Mrida Group, comments, 'The reasons for firms to select geographies close to manufacturing plants or areas of work are valid but this leads to an imbalance in the division of CSR funding.' Read on...
Firms ramp up CSR focus on healthcare, poverty, hunger
Authors: Arundhati Ramanathan, Moyna Manku
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 aug 2016
According to the latest OPPI-KPMG's 'Report on Healthcare Access Initiatives', India spends less on healthcare than most other middle income countries. It's total healthcare expenditure of about 4.1% of GDP is among the lowest in the world. The report highlights the following main gaps in India's healthcare - POOR HEALTHCARE INDICES: Life expectancy (68 years in 2015) one of the lowest among Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC); Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) of 38/1,000 live births and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of 174/100,000 live births in 2015, highest among peer group. GROWING NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES (NCD) BURDEN: NCDs account for nearly 60% of deaths annually; Indian economy set to lose US$ 4.58 trillion by 2030 due to NCDs. INADEQUATE HEALTHCARE INFRASTRUCTURE: Number of hospital beds of 0.9 per 1,000 population is lowest among BRIC; 75% of dispensaries and 60% of hospitals are in the urban areas. NEED FOR MORE TRAINED HUMAN RESOURCES: Lowest number of physicians per 10,000 population among BRIC; 80% of doctors are in the urban areas serving only 28% of the population. POOR AVAILABILITY: In rural India, only 37% of people have access to In-Patient Department (IPD) facilities within a 5km distance, and only 68% have access to an Out-Patient Department (OPD). BURDENED CARE: Nearly 63 million people are in debt due to health expenditure; Nearly 1/3 of population is driven below the poverty line due to health expenses. INADEQUATE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT: The government funds only 1/3 of health expenditure; Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spend on healthcare (4.1%) lowest among BRIC. POOR INSURANCE COVERAGE: Nearly 75% of population uncovered. Out-of-pocket (OOP) contributes close to 86% of private and 60% of overall healthcare expenditure. Report suggests a patient-centric approach to tackle India's healthcare challenges and points out that awareness and education can strengthen the four pillars (4As) of healthcare - Availability; Affordability; Accessibility; Acceptability. Utkarsh Palnitkar, Partner at KPMG, says, '...Only a long-term, proactive strategy with education and awareness at its centre, involving all stakeholders, i.e., healthcare providers, insurance companies and healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, can achieve the desired vision of a healthy country.' Shailesh Ayyangar, President of Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), says, 'Universal Healthcare is a social priority...India's healthcare strategy requires a holistic approach and a critical evaluation of our existing systems. We need sustainable policy solutions to address healthcare financing, infrastructure and human resource challenges.' Read on...
The Economic Times:
India's total healthcare expenditure at about 4.1% of GDP, among the lowest in the world - OPPI-KPMG report
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 jul 2016
Team of researchers from IIT-Madras (India) and University of Nebraska at Lincoln (USA), are developing an ingestible capsule, that can stay in human body for close to a week, with sensors that will take readings of an individual's calorie intake, that can eventually help in diagnosis of diseases like cancer and permit sustained delivery of drugs. According to Prof. Benjamin Terry of UNL, 'The capsule, made of biocompatible materials, works like a parasite by latching on to the intestinal wall.' The sensors communicate their readings to an external device through low-intensity radio waves. Prof. P. V. Manivannan of IIT-M, says, 'The device is kept a metre away from the body. We use only low intensity waves that don't harm the body.' According to experts, biosensors could help monitor factors that influence digestive health. Prof. Terry adds that the mechanism could also serve as a long-term vessel for capsule endoscopes, the ingestible pill-shaped cameras that permit physicians to record images of the gastrointestinal tract. Read on...
The Times of India:
From IIT-M - Capsule in body to count calories, diagnose cancer
Author: Ekatha Ann John
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 may 2016
India's healthcare is an opportunity that has room for growth for all - public or private, for-profit or non-profit, foreign or domestic entities. According to the latest CII-KPMG report, Indian healthcare sector is estimated to reach US$ 160 billion in 2017, accounting for about 4.2% of GDP. It is further expected to grow to US$ 280 billion by 2020. India currently spends only 1.05% of GDP on public health. Over the years, governments have tried to develop policies and have taken steps to provide better healthcare for its citizens. But India's large size, huge population (1.25 billion) and ineffective implementation at various levels, has created lop sided infrastructure and uneven development in healthcare. While bigger towns and cities have developed state of the art healthcare facilities, the rural part has lagged behind on multiple counts. Inspite of all the challenges, India is taking a stride into the next phase of healthcare, riding on technological advances, new financial models and corporatization of hospitals. Timely provision of healthcare assistance is the key to save cost and save lives. Multipronged strategy is the need of the hour. Technology, skilled and trained medical professionals, substantial investment and effective execution of best practices will help India provide what the today's citizens expect from the growing economy. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 apr 2016
India's healthcare landscape is undergoing continuous transformation. Although there is substantial reduction in IMR (Infant Mortality Rate) and MMR (Maternal Mortality Ratio), but at the same time rising cost of healthcare for its citizens is a cause of concern. Public health spending has been reduced by government from 1.47% of GDP in 1986-87 to 1.05% in 2015-16. According to Vandana Prasad, national convener of Public Health Resource Network, '...We have made gains in maternal and child health by establishing public health systems in rural areas...' Health surveys by National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) show that Indians are now more dependent on private healthcare and this trend is clearly visible if the figures of 42nd and 71st NSSO reports are compared - 60% availed public health services in 1986-87 and remaing went for private, while only 41% utilized public health system in 2015-16. Prof. Rajesh Kumar of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Chandigarh, says, 'Out-of-pocket expenditure is the main cause of worry for the patients. A number of people fall from above poverty line (APL) category to below poverty line (BPL) category because of this. Nearly 70% of out-of-pocket expenditure is due to medicines...' Ravi Duggal, health economist at International Budget Partnership, points out how reduction in budgetary allocation to health by government affects public health system. He says, 'What this under-financing did was to reduce the credibility of public health institutions among general people. And doctors and nurses left the public health system, creating huge vacancies in primary health centres and public hospitals.' Other health-based challenges that India faces include the increasing burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. According to a 2014 report by the World Economic Forum and Harvard School of Public Health, the economic burden of lifestyle diseases like heart diseases, stroke, pulmonary diseases and diabetes, account for about 40% of all hospital stays and roughly 35% of all recorded outpatient visits. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 mar 2016
India's healthcare sector is an opportunity with a room for diverse business models. According to a recent report by Government of India's Ministry of Health, it is estimated that the country would require 600000 to 700000 additional beds over the next five to six years, a potential opportunity of more than Rs 4000-5000 crores. In another report, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) research estimated that the number of people in India above 60 years of age will increase from 100 million in 2011 to 300 million by 2050. Dr. Anitha Arockiasamy, President of India Home Health Care Pvt. Ltd., explains the value of home-based care opportunity in India and how it can positively contribute to India's healthcare ecosystem by bridging the gaps in the health delivery mechanism. According to Dr. Arockiasamy, 'Recovery is a process that involves a great amount of care and nurturing. Be it recovering from a surgery, recuperating after a delivery or undergoing physiotherapy after any treatment, this period requires more care than medical assistance. The very thought of being discharged from the hospital and getting back home will start one's recovery process. Healing comfortably in your own home, under the supervision of your relatives as against being in a hospital, will boost the patients' morale to a huge extent.' She further adds, 'Geriatric care is an aspect that home healthcare players specialize in. Going beyond medical need, a lot of aged people look for simple assistance like accompanying them on a walk, spend time with them in light minded conversations, helping them with simple household chores, etc. A lot of home healthcare players go that extra mile to make the patient feel well taken care of.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 feb 2016
Experts at the international health conference, 'Delivering On the Promise of Universal Health Coverage in India: Policy Options and Challenges', suggested that India has to sincerely and immediately resolve the issues related to the healthcare sector. Over the years the sector has been neglected, policy decisions are influenced too much with politics and the sector was unable to provide quality services. According to Prof. T. Sundararaman, dean of School of Health Systems Studies at TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences), 'The 12th Five Year Plan said it will be the health plan but soon after funds dried up.' Prof. Sundararaman mentioned some of the important issues adversely affecting the growth of the health sector - re-positioning the role of states, contradictory assessment of NRHM (National Rural Health Mission), contradictions in HR policy and a gap between expectations and reality in private sector engagement. Anjali Chikersal of Center for Policy Research said, 'The first thing we need is availability of data. India has critical shortage of manpower in the sector but we also have imbalances.' According to Ravinder Singh Duggal of Internatinal Budget Partnership, 'We are producing adequate number of doctors but we do not capitalise on that. India needs consolidated National Health Rights Bill as our approach to health is very fragmented.' Prof. Richard Cash of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health commented, 'India needs to learn from others, especially from those who share like experiences.' Ajith M. Sharan, Secretary at Ministry of AYUSH, added, 'We need to look at different kind of paradigm with more focus on paramedics.' Read on...
India needs to urgently resolve healthcare issues - Experts
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jan 2016
A panel of health experts from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Public Health Foundation of India and the National Institute of Nutrition, recently demanded pictorial and health warning on junk food packets in order to provide information to people on health issues caused by them. According to Prof. Vandana Jain, in-charge of Division of Pedriatrics Endocrinology at AIIMS, 'We have recommended pictorial warnings on junk foods...or health warnings saying that this product contains fat and salt in excess of what is recommended or even a picture of liver may be put on pack indicating that consuming them may lead to fatty liver in children and adults.' Consumption of products with high sugar, fat and salt have adverse health implications and World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the best way to prevent obesity among children is to put restrictions on marketing of unhealthy foods. Read on...
The Economic Times:
Health experts demand pictorial warnings on junk food packets
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 jan 2016
Technology-driven healthcare startups are finding new opportunities in India's mostly traditional healthcare system. But it is not an easy ride, with lack of digital orientation, policy and regulational scenario, slow pace of change in the healthcare industry etc. Simply put, these healthcare pioneers in India face more challenges than what the normal startups actually do. Mudit Vijayvergiya, Co-founder of Curofy, provides five most relevant challenges that all healthcare startups are broadly facing in India - (1) Slow Growth: Sluggish pace of growth of the industry is hard for survival. (2) Complex Industry: Complex rules and regulations can be obstacles for entrepreneurship and innovative thinking. Various policies are unclear and cause confusion at workplace. (3) Doctors are Tough: Miserable doctor patient ratio of 1:1700 and horrible 1:60000 in rural areas, make availability of doctors rare. Moreover digital healthcare is last on their mind. (4) Monetization: Slow growth of sector makes startups hard to monetize and to have a sustainable revenue model. Moreover social nature of the market and lack of financial ability of patients make it hard for private startups to make money. (5) Lack of Healthcare Mentors in India: Although India has large pool of trained medical professionals, but it has very few seasoned mentors and investors in the health-tech space to share their experience with entrepreneurs. Moreover track record of startups in healthcare is not very good either. Thus India currently lacks a win-win scenario for mentors, investors and entrepreneurs. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 dec 2015
Recently published paper in The Lancet, 'Assuring health coverage for all in India' by a team of researchers (Vikram Patel; Rachana Parikh; Sunil Nandraj; Priya Balasubramaniam; Kavita Narayan; Vinod K. Paul; A. K. Shiva Kumar; Mirai Chatterjee; K. Srinath Reddy), explores India's healthcare delivery system and found structural deficiencies inspite of continuous efforts by the policy makers to improve it. Large healthcare disparities continue to exist from region to region and from section to section in society. The system is unable to cope with the enormous demand that is placed on it. Researchers suggest that India's healthcare sytem requires a radical transformation in its architecture if it wants to efficiently fulfil the vision of the government to provide affordable healthcare for all. Presently the skyrocketing cost of healthcare in India is driving millions of its citizens to poverty and it is one of the most disturbing indicator of the deficiencies in the healthcare system. According to Prof. Vikram Patel (Public Health Foundation of India and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), 'The health time-bomb ticks on due to the rising burden of non-communicable diseases. Suicide is now a leading cause of death for young Indians, and an Indian is likely to suffer from a heart attack at least ten years earlier than in developed countries and yet the health care system has barely responded to these urgent health crises.' Experts believe that insufficient and ineffective regulation on the private sector has led to corruption across the sector, with consequent poor quality of care and impoverishment of patients. The paper mentions that the single biggest impediment to a holistic approach to health governance in the country is the lack of convergence between ministries related to health, water, sanitation, and national vertical targeted programs. The authors argue that it is essential for the state to prioritise health as a fundamental public good, central to India's developmental aspirations, at par with education. The researchers argue that India's healthcare system not only need more resources but it requires an integrated national healthcare system, built around a strong public primary care system with a clearly defined supportive role for the private and indigenous sectors, that addresses acute as well as chronic health care needs. The paper recommends, 'In the immediate future, both the central and state governments should jointly launch a campaign to explain the principles and benefits of universal health coverage and engage with all concerned stakeholders in an atmosphere of a national mission. The role of communities and civil society is critical and they must be actively empowered to engage with this more radical vision of health care.' Read on...
The Asian Age:
India's healthcare in need of radical transformation
Author: Teena Thacker
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 nov 2015
India's healthcare expenditure market is about US$ 100 billion. According to a report by Internet and Mobile Association of India and KPMG released in early 2015, India have about 159 million mobile internet users and it is projected to reach more than 300 million by 2017. Gartner predicts that Indian healthcare providers will spend US$ 1.2 billion on IT products and services in 2015. While industry estimates the healthcare sector in India to reach US$ 160 billion by 2017 and US$ 280 billion by 2020. Number of startups in India are exploring opportunities that are offered by these conditions. Saurabh Uboweja, co-founder of Credihealth, says 'Transparency, credibility and access to health care are some of the prime challenges that plague the Indian healthcare...Before tapping international patients for medical tourism, there existed great potential within India itself, where hundreds of thousands of patients throng city hospitals everyday from the hinterland.' According to Rohan Desai, founder of PlexusMD, 'In the US, health care expenditure accounts for nearly 10% of its GDP (compared to 5% of GDP in India), which basically means there is huge room for growth in India.' Nirmall L. Kumbhat, director of sales and marketing at another health related startup Godoctr (founded by Ajay Goel), says that it is seeking venture capital funding and focusing on medical tourism market. While Practo has already obtained various rounds of funds from global investors and has been growing since it was founded in 2008 by Shashank ND and Abhinav Lal. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 sep 2015
Architects often espouse some philosophical concepts while designing and creating their projects apart from imbibing what their clients want. Architect Mona Doctor Pingel of Studio Naqshbandi in Auroville (Tamil Nadu, India), considers building as not merely a functional structure but a space that effectively addresses the five senses. She is influenced by writer-philosopher-artist Hugo Kukelhaus who considered various aspects of modern architecture as 'inhuman'. Ms. Pingel focuses on creating healthy living and work spaces. She thoroughly studies the impact of built environment on human health before embarking on projects. According to her, 'Starting from location and climate to the materials selected, and the interiors, all add up to prevent the sick building syndrome. A building should bring into perspective all the five senses, thereby giving a three-dimensional angle to the structure. Like the sight of greenery, sound of water, feel of natural stone under the feet, the smell of trees, flowers, and fresh mud, the taste of a charming yet sensitive design, all the five senses need to be addressed by a building.' She uses natural materials in her projects like stone, terracotta blocks, bricks alongwith seamlessly blending greenery into the environment. She believes that architects have to be envoronmentally responsible in their designs and advocates practices of resource efficiency and recycling. She says, 'The scale in which cities are growing is not sustainable. Villages need revival through awareness, education and commitment brought into design.' Read on...
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