Collective Endeavour Key to Boost Indian Healthcare
By Choudhary Sandeep
India has been making a lot of efforts for decades in terms of consolidating the healthcare scenario. Several Government agencies have been doing their bit for decades. But limited role of the NGOs or the missing corporate is keeping the system far away from having a bit futuristic and innovative approach.
As per the Global Burden of Disease ranking of Health Care access and quality, India has fallen 11 places, and now ranks 154 out of 195 countries. Further, India’s healthcare index of 44.8 is the lowest among the sub-continental countries, as Sri Lanka (72.8), Bangladesh (51.7), Bhutan (52.7), and Nepal (50.8) all fared better.
A section of the corporate that undertakes CSR initiatives has evoked hope. But what if its efforts become a part of government endeavour? Since crores of rupees, at times, are allocated by the corporate for social activities, contributing towards boosting a healthcare ecosystem can be a great step.
While we cannot simply leave every possibility of development as the government’s responsibility, there is perhaps much that the existing healthcare systems can gain from by joining hands with the corporate.
Even though the Government has been doing a lot, much remains to be done in a strategic manner with the help of NGOs with solid grassroots knowledge.
Be it the vision, innovative approach, methodologies, good practices or even the know-how acquired over the years about local or regional challenges can be a great source of learning to benefit from.
India’s inequity in healthcare access is a matter well known. The difference in health outcomes across states are strong indicators of this inequity. What is perhaps less understood is the magnitude of this inequity, its manifestation across the rural –urban divide and more income segments and its alarming upward trajectory. Catering to a populace having a mammoth size like 1.40 billion people is something that can perhaps leave anyone out of wits. Since there cannot be any one mega plan/policy that may qualify ‘one size fits all’ proverb, State-specific strategies can be employed, as per regional availability or non-availability of resources.
Though NGOs are doing their bit to take healthcare to different geographies, a lot of factors restrict them to genuinely benefit maximum people.
Some of the key challenges faced by the NGOs are:
Sufficient and continuous funding for their work is a big challenge. Gaining access to appropriate donors is a major component of this challenge. At times, current donors shift priorities or withdraw funding.
Many NGOs suffer from the lack of a cohesive, strategic plan that would facilitate success in their activities and mission. It leaves them unable to effectively raise and capitalize on financial support.
Lack of Governance
A lack of effective governance is all too common in NGOs. Many have a deficit of understanding as to why they must have a Board and how to set one up. A founder may be too focused on running the NGO for their own purposes; however, governance is foundational to transparency.
NGOs often lack the technical and organisational capacity to implement and fulfil their mission, and few are willing or able to invest in training for capacity building. Weak capacity affects fundraising ability, governance, leadership and technical areas.
There are, however, some NGOs who have made a distinct mark over the years due to their quality service and smart approach towards bringing a change in healthcare. Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT) and the Lung Card Foundation are two such prominent names.
Lung Care Foundation (LCF)
The organisation came into existence to focus on lung healthcare in India. Today, it works in partnership with many educational institutions to create awareness amongst the members of society, enable the transformation through the power of the youth and efforts to own up responsibility and action.
The organisation holds numerous clinical camps where patients from all age groups benefit.
LCF believes in strong partnerships with large and small bodies committed to the common cause.
“We are strong believers in actions and refrain from indulging in blame games. We love to join hands with any organisation that can take this ‘challenge of change’ as part of a long continuous journey,” said Rajiv Khurana, Founder and Trustee of the Lung Care Foundation.
Asked if the results could be altogether different if the corporate, NGOs and the Government join hands for bringing a real change, Rajiv Khurana said: “Absolutely. The situation is so alarming that whatever is done shall look insignificant. The momentum must be carried out in each district of India. We need to go out of the advocacy and planning room to real action areas at the geometrical pace of progression.”
Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT)
Driven by a vision to empower communities to collectively assert their rights to lead a life of dignity and well-being, KHPT’s work focuses on marginalised, vulnerable, and socially excluded groups.
Prominent Among its achievements is reaching out to 32,000 poorest of the poor pregnant women, adolescent girls and children aged less than 5 years, by projects that address under nutrition.
Impacting about 8,400 TB patients and families and over 30 million community members from high risk areas reached by our TB projects.
Talking of the distinction KHPT maintains from other NGOs working for HIV prevention and care, Mohan HL, Managing Trustee, says: “Our model on HIV prevention is based from a risk and vulnerability perspective. It does not adopt a bio medical approach to HIV prevention by just test and treat but looks at several underlying factors such as education, violence, stigma and discrimination that increases the vulnerabilities of certain communities to HIV.”
“We adopt a programme science approach that looks at generating and using evidence for all stages of programme – design, implementation, evaluation. Our community mobilization approach uses an empowerment framework that has helped empower 60,000 sex workers, 25 000 MSM populations within the programmes.”
Not just that KHPT is responsible for facilitating the establishment of strong community based organisations of sex workers that run and manage the government’s targeted HIV interventions independently today.
Asked one of KHPT’s projects improving the quality of life of orphan and vulnerable children (OVC), Mohan HL said: “Orphans and vulnerable children refer to children who are either infected or affected with HIV AIDS (with or without any care givers). We systematically and sensitively engage with children to increase their uptake of health, education, social protection and welfare services.
Mohan HL, Managing Trustee, said employing a multi-sectoral approach involving government, civil society and corporates, the programmes work to ensure the welfare of the children.
“Our programmes build capacities of child counsellors, promote collaboration between government departments, mobilise communities and catalyse the development of child protection policies within institutions,” Mohan HL said.
“We have reached over 43,000 OVC in Maharashtra and Karnataka. We have also helped institutionalise a direct cash transfer scheme through the government of Karnataka to support the needs of 20,000 OVC in the state,” Mohan HL added.
Some of the leading NGOs in India that are doing an incredibly inspiring work in the healthcare sector can be mentioned as:
|Mamta Health Institute For Mother and
Ph- 011- 29220210/9220220/ 29220230
|Rural Health Care Foundation||Health||www.ruralhealthcarefoundation.com
Ph- 033 40082981
Ph- 040- 44586060 / 27802139 / 27807314
|Lung Care Foundation||Health||www.lcf.org.in
|Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT)||Health||www.khpt.org
Ph- 80 4040 0200
|Voluntary Health Association of India||Health||www.vhai.ord
Ph- 011 4700 4300
Need of the Hour
While the Corporate has emerged as a big ray of hope in developing a strong social welfare system, a few of the reputed names are definitely doing a commendable job and are playing a substantial role in achieving the objectives of ‘Universal Health Coverage’, which aimed to cover every India irrespective of their economic, social or cultural backgrounds. At the same time there are some corporate who are only organising health camps just to comply companies act without making any significant impact.As transforming the health systems is a long-term journey, championed and driven by political leadership over a sustained period which need very strategic approach. The government need to engage the private sector in an robust and impactful manner to achieve the constructive dialogue about the vision of the country health system and the private sector’s role in it. The question which hits time and again whether the current trajectory of development in the health sector couple with burgeoning health demand, existing and growing inequalities in access and delivery of health services will be able to achieve the objective of National Health Policy 2017, ambitious program aimed to reach out to every Indian in a comprehensive and in integrated manner to move towards wellness.