Compassionate leadership enables equitable health care access

ByHindustan Times
Aug 15, 2023 01:00 PM IST

This article is authored by Swati Piramal, vice chairperson, Piramal Group.

As we mark the anniversary of our nation's 77th Independence, it is truly a moment of pride for us. Positioned as one of the world's fastest-growing economies, India exemplifies remarkable advancement, driven by inclusive government initiatives and impactful social sector efforts, reaching the remotest communities riding on technological advancements.

Independence Day 2023(Twitter/@Tamizhachi_Offl)
Independence Day 2023(Twitter/@Tamizhachi_Offl)

As we approach this significant milestone, it is important to stress upon the imperative of offering cutting-edge healthcare solutions, extending beyond a privileged few. The concept of comprehensive health care encompasses not only the provision of services but also their affordability and accessibility. Moreover, it inherently involves the delivery of these services with compassion and respect to each and every person.

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In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, compassionate leadership emerges as a key pivot, that imposes substantial responsibility on healthcare providers. It holds true, especially in the frontlines, underserved regions, where a dearth of resources amplifies the healthcare providers' responsibility to imbue their practice with compassion. To accomplish this, adoption of an array of innovative and unconventional methods becomes necessary. Constructing a comprehensive curriculum and disseminating it among all those entrusted with the responsibility of providing dignified health care is of paramount importance.

Leading the charge in this endeavour is the Bihar government, currently introducing an 8-stage curriculum developed in collaboration with Emory University. This initiative aligns with the Dalai Lama's vision of nurturing both the compassionate heart and the discerning mind, ultimately contributing to the greater welfare of humanity. The implementation of the Cognitive Based Compassion Training (CBCT) has already left a significant imprint on 1,200 health care providers across 20 districts in Bihar, fostering the cultivation of compassionate leadership within the public healthcare framework. This undertaking has given rise to individuals embodying compassion-driven leadership at every echelon equipped with the confidence to adeptly navigate and resolve intricate scenarios with poise and effective guidance.

India's vast population, particularly in remote areas, face hurdles in accessing quality health care. Collaborative efforts involving government, healthcare institutions, private sectors, NGOs, and international entities can spark transformative health care improvements. Elevating Primary Health Centres (PHCs) through enhanced staff training, expanded services, and utilising them for disease education empowers communities to prioritise preventive care, consequently amplifying health care affordability and accessibility. The private sector, especially the IT industry, plays a crucial role in enhancing affordability and accessibility. For instance, the e-Sanjeevani tele-consultation initiative offers free rural health care via innovative IT solutions, effectively bridging the gap and expanding health care access.

Nearly two years since its inauguration, the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission has been achieving remarkable progress in its mission to ensure universal access to quality health care, extending even to the farthest corners of the nation. With an impressive accomplishment, over 25 crore individual health records have been seamlessly integrated into the Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) through the flagship initiative of the National Health Authority, indicating a significant leap in the establishment of a comprehensive digital framework. Moreover, the government's proactive stride in introducing the National Digital Health Mission stands as a testament to its resolute dedication to forging a robust data infrastructure capable of instigating a transformative shift within the country's public health care system.

In addressing the challenge of achieving comprehensive and accessible healthcare, the focus turns towards the last mile, a critical juncture that demands concerted efforts in promoting inclusivity. Today, the healthcare industry has the much-needed push across the value chain as India moves closer to being the world's leading manufacturing hub and major supplier of medical devices.

Taking on the responsibility of the G20 presidency, India is presented with a unique and significant opportunity to lead in the realm of healthcare priorities, playing a pivotal role in addressing the foundational causes of global health disparities. Within this context, India stands poised to share its digital health infrastructure, showcasing its technological triumphs like the CoWIN platform and the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) with nations worldwide.

At the heart of India@100 lies a powerful vision – to present every individual with equal opportunities, establish a formidable presence on the global stage and achieve an equitable future. This transformative journey is guided by the ethos of a shared vision that enables the country to collectively move forward. As we move ahead, our innovative ideas will be the force multiplier, that enables the nation to transcend boundaries and redefine progress. Moreover, the altruistic spirit of 'Sewa Bhaav' should uplift India, propelling it to achieve greater heights.

This article is authored by Swati Piramal, vice chairperson, Piramal Group.

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