New Delhi: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for nearly 60 per cent of deaths in India annually. The country is estimated to lose USD 4.58 trillion by 2030 due to them. India clearly faces a large and looming economic and wellness burden and prioritising healthcare has never been more critical. It is imperative that all stakeholders collaborate and increase their commitment towards a patient-centric healthcare ecosystem. The ‘KPMG – OPPI report on healthcare access initiatives’ presents the current healthcare scenario in India and the future burden should there be a further delay in access initiatives; it also summarises the various interventions undertaken by member companies of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) in this regard.
The report highlights worrying statistics and insights into the Indian Healthcare system:
India has also not been able to meet most of the health targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), defined by the UN Summit in 2000.
Commenting on this immediate need of the hour, Utkarsh Palnitkar, Partner and Head, Infrastructure, Government, Healthcare and Life Sciences, KPMG in India, said, “While the Government of India plays a laudable role in providing healthcare, human life lost due to lack of awareness is staggering! Often, disease detection is so delayed that neither access nor affordability can play any role. 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.”
Dr Shailesh Ayyangar, President, OPPI, talks about healthcare for all. He says, “Universal Healthcare is a social priority. It aims to powerfully enhance the health of people and its rewards go well beyond health. 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.”
Some non-commercial initiatives undertaken by OPPI member firms in this area:
Abbott addresses concerns that are relevant in India currently: thyroid awareness, tracking diabetes among pregnant women and infants and screening for liver related diseases. iCARE, the Company’s road safety awareness initiative was also much appreciated.
Astrazeneca’s Young Health Program which began in India in 2010 focuses on adolescent health in marginalised communities, for prevention of the most common NCDs – type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart and respiratory disease.
Bayer Zydus runs projects to improve public health through awareness around hygiene and sanitation and conservation of natural resources; it conducts various awareness programmes around TB, ante-natal care and women’s health.
Boehringer Ingelheim’s Making More Health (MMH) is a global, long-term initiative to improve health around the world; the pilot project in India focusses on improving healthcare facilities in rural Coimbatore especially for women and children. The project in India aims to improve access to healthcare by connecting MMH network of social entrepreneurs and scalable health ideas to meet the local health needs.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has set up a foundation that works towards tackling diabetes through a multi-pronged approach among the poor, rural and tribal populations, with a special focus on Hepatitis B and C and Type 2 diabetes for which it also conducts screening camps.
Lilly has initiated several awareness activities such as healthcare provider trainings at state and regional levels for pharmacists, nurses and physicians to combat TB along with Multidrug-Resistant TB (MDR). Lilly also has a project which aims to develop a cost-effective scalable ‘Comprehensive Diabetes and Hypertension Prevention and Management Program’ in India.
GSK has been a key partner in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases such as Lymphatic Filariasis. Awareness efforts around mother and child healthcare with focus on newborn survival; congenital hypothyroidism and the value of vaccines is noteworthy.
Johnson & Johnson launched the ‘Neonatal Resuscitation Program – First Golden Minute’ programme in partnership with the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, to educate and train healthcare workers and infant care providers on prompt and skilled resuscitation techniques to survive the neonatal period. This is an effort to reduce Infant Mortality Rate in line with the Millennium Development Goals. The company also runs various awareness initiatives around TB, migraine and HIV/AIDS.
Merck through its river ambulance project aims to improve access to basic health care facilities for people, mainly tribals living on the banks of the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh; awareness about health and hygiene is also given through the ambulance by on-board Health Care Practitioners (HCP). The Company also conducts stem cell donor registration drives.
MSD India’s Be well SPARSH program offers a comprehensive diabetes management plan, including diet counseling, exercise counseling, education, and physician training. The Company also runs programmes that focus on strengthening maternal and new born health and improving education; it also spreads awareness about cervical cancer and its prevention, including education, screening and vaccination.
Nektar contributes to a government run healthcare program – ‘Arogyasri Healthcare’ in Hyderabad which works for the benefit of families below the poverty line.
Novartis’s Arogya Parivar Program is an effort to offer education on diseases, treatment options and prevention as well as increased access to affordable medicines in rural parts of India. Women’s health is a focus area with awareness program on iron and calcium conducted across the states where Novartis operates. The company also runs initiatives around diabetes and breast cancer awareness.
Novo Nordisk’s The Changing Diabetes Barometer is an initiative from Novo Nordisk Education Foundation (NNEF) driving improvement in diabetes care and reducing the economic burden on healthcare by collecting and sharing data for diabetes care worldwide.
Pfizer’s Cancer helpdesk, is an initiative that acts as a bridge to connect patients to different hospitals and charitable organisations for subsidised treatment and financial assistance. The helpdesk is a collaborative information aggregator supported by Pfizer. The company also works with communities and municipal health facilities to improve the state of maternal and neonatal health services.
Sanofi launched the largest student-led campaign called ‘Healthy Children Happy Children’, to develop healthcare awareness in schools; the Company is in the process of preparing information packs on understanding diabetes and supporting children with this condition. Sanofi also works actively towards improving access to TB diagnosis and care in slum areas of Mumbai.
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