New Delhi: The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) held its 17th annual healthcare conference, ‘FICCI HEAL 2023’, supported by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and NITI Aayog. The two-day conference, held from October 26–27, was centred around the theme ‘Healthcare METAmorphosis’. Several experts joined the conference and delved into the strategies and opportunities required for the growth of India’s healthcare sector.
Making Cancer Care Affordable In India
Chairing the session on the first day, Indrani Kaushal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (GoI) emphasised improving outcomes for cancer patients across the country by making cancer care more affordable and accessible. She said,
Cancer care being a public good, pure market mechanisms cannot be merely adequate to deliver such a public good. How to fund cancer care for the most vulnerable populations is what we expect today’s deliberation to give us some headway.
Ms Kaushal stressed the need to involve all the stakeholders with the government to make cancer care affordable.
Describing cancer as a ‘pandemic’, Vineet Gupta, Co-Chair, FICCI Task Force Cancer Care and Head, Government Affairs, Siemens Healthineers, asserted the role of technology in providing comprehensive cancer care. He said that technology can network and improve the infrastructure and resource models, and ensure optimal utilisation of available cancer care services.
Enhancing Home Healthcare System
Sharing his vision, Dr Mahesh Joshi, Co-Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee and President and CEO, Apollo Homecare, highlighted the need for an appropriate home healthcare system to provide round-the-clock services to patients. Dr Joshi informed that said the insurance companies will be working closely with home healthcare companies to deliver the highest quality of care to patients.
Making Healthcare System Cost-Effective And Partnerships
Experts, Dr K Madan Gopal, Advisor, Public Health Administration, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Dr Nandakumar Jairam, Chairman, Medica Synergie Hospitals, underlined the importance of driving focus towards increasing investment in the healthcare sector and making it cost-effective so that more people can reap the benefits of the services.
On the second day of the session, Dr Vinod K Paul, Member NITI Aayog, highlighted the initiatives the centre has taken to strengthen the primary healthcare system. He also called upon the support from the private sector to strengthen the tertiary healthcare system of the country. Dr Paul further said,
Commitment to primary healthcare is strong, and I look forward to the opportunity to go in that direction. We are looking forward to a bigger partnership in secondary and tertiary care.
Highlighting India’s progress, Dr Paul further said that the country has crossed the World Health Organisation (WHO) benchmark of one doctor per thousand for the Allopath. Additionally, the number of Ayush doctors is 1.3, but the country has a long way to go. He said,
We have a long way to go, surely, because the nations with whom we compare ourselves have typically about three doctors per thousand and definitely two per thousand.
India’s Progress In Digitalising Healthcare System
Dr Akshay Jain, Joint Director, National Health Authority, underscored the initiatives undertaken by the centre to strengthen the digital health service system and enhance access to quality healthcare. He said that the government is making efforts to make healthcare services available in digital format, at the primary care level as well. Talking about government’s reverb initiative, Ayushman Bhava campaign, Dr Jain said,
The Hon’ble President inaugurated the Ayushman Bhava campaign in September this year. In this campaign, we are conducting door-to-door surveys, organising Ayushman Melas, enrolling all the beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat Jan Arogya Yojana, and issuing their insurance cards. We are reaching every village and every door to ensure that everyone obtains an Aadhar ID. Through this mass campaign, we aim to increase the population coverage of the insurance scheme as well as advance our digital mission.
The Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Prof. SP Singh Baghel, also spoke about the digital healthcare initiatives. He said that the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), the government, is trying to provide medical coverage to citizens who cannot access affordable healthcare through telemedicine. He also emphasised the need to promote organ donation and blood donation through multiple campaigns and urged the private players to show their support.
Extending Healthcare Access To Women
“Women’s health is the heartbeat of a nation’s vitality,” said Ritu Mahajan, Co-founder and Executive Director, Mahajan Imaging & Labs, while highlighting the significance of engaging stakeholders in issues pertaining to women’s health.
Susan Ferguson, Country Representative for India, UN Women, said that it is high time to look beyond maternal health and into other health issues that women face. Echoing similar sentiments, Upasana Arora, FICCI MVT Committee and Managing Director, Yashoda Super Speciality Hospitals, said,
About 24 per cent of women suffer from malnutrition; they have anaemia, and they are not even aware that they have this problem. The reason for this is that we are always our family’s second priority.
Amrita Sekhar, Senior Programme Officer, Innovative Health Tools, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pressed on the need to invest more in women’s health for overall economic growth. She added,
Data shows that 300 million dollars of investment today generates about 13 billion dollars in economic return for society by focusing on women’s health.
During the session, FICCI also released a report, ‘Empowering Her Health’, prepared by UN Women in partnership with FICCI and Apollo Hospitals.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoilets are used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.