Hyderabad March , 2018:A Think Tank to address the vital issue of equitable access to healthcare was organized at L. V. Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), Hyderabad on today. This was organized under the aegis of L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad and DHAN Foundation, Madurai, and facilitated by Prof. D. V. R. Seshadri of the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
For the stability of the country, equitable access for all, irrespective of socio-economic background to three aspects essential to cross the empowerment line is vital. These are: healthcare, education, and livelihood.
LVPEI has shown the path for such equitable eye care through an extensive and well thought out model spanning the three states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa. The key for an equitable healthcare model according to Dr. G. N. Rao, the Chairman of LVEPI, is ensuring highest quality that is comprehensive, delivered by a well-qualified team that has compassion as the cornerstone of working. Dr. Rao felt that this model is replicable to healthcare spanning diverse areas such as dental, oncology, cardiac, diabetes, etc. He emphasized the need for outcome based excellence that fosters trust among the stakeholders. If you provide quality care the rich will come to seek your services and the poor can be cross subsidized from the earnings from the rich. This can be replicated as a model of healthcare which ensures equitable access to quality healthcare to all irrespective of their paying capacity. This is the most appropriate model for a country like India to tackle the enormous burden of disease. We will be meeting again in three months from now in Madurai and will create two pilot projects to take the initiative forward.
Mr. M. P. Vasimalai, the Founder of DHAN Foundation, that has helped over one crore Indians to move from abject poverty to cross the line of empowerment, underlined the importance of enabling the community to take ownership of these initiatives. He also highlighted importance of working with the mainstream institutions including government and banks.
Both highlighted the importance of 3 P’s: principles, process, and practice.
Building technical competency at grassroots level, creating synergies among like-minded institutions, a systematic perspective, and building credibility at the grassroots level is key to sustainability and scalability. Organizations such as DHAN Foundation and LVPEI have clearly shown that money is not a constraint when these are taken care of.
Task shifting, i.e., training appropriate people for doing appropriate tasks at appropriate levels (primary, secondary, and tertiary levels) is key to enabling the goal of equitable healthcare.
Prof. D. V. R. Seshadri said, Health, education and livelihood are three basic necessities, if we address these three, the country will be on the path of growth. Through this initiative we are trying to create the critical mass of people who will be willing to adopt the model and make healthcare accessible to all sections.
The Think Tank made the distinction between institutions having community participation and institutions participating in community owned initiatives. Once the community owns these initiatives, the whole system becomes one of zero tolerance to corruption.
Some of the key suggestions from the Think Tank for all institutions trying to make a difference in healthcare include sensitizing medical students to the need, the opportunities, and the meaningfulness of working in the rural with the poor; professionalizing the technical cadre; having a systematic and well-structured program for volunteers in the health space, similar to the Teach For India program.
The Think Tank also saw the participating organizations agreeing to pool field level resources, there by getting better efficiencies. The meeting also saw agreements on cross-pollination through immersion program for specialist doctors. The Think Tankalso resulted in agreements between institutions to work in holistic manner on inclusive partnerships, with the organizations opening up their locations and facilities to each other for providing their respective equitable healthcare solutions.