Education and healthcare
Let us concentrate on time bound targeted goals!
Two rural people-focused healthcare programmes make news. All the corporates, companies and corporate hospitals can take up these types of social ventures in all States.
Dr.Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister says poverty would be halved by 2015.
This goal is set out as one of the Millennium Development Goals, signed by all governments under the UN auspices. This is good news.
But then there are also concerns that are articulated by several UN agencies like Unicef. Its latest news is that when compared to other Asian nations like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and others, India’s progress on critical targets like reduction in infant mortality, enrolment of out of school children, nutrition etc. India is not progressing at the pace required. This is no news for those who know things or observe these targets.
For instance, UP and Bihar, along with other few states like Orissa and MP and even Maharashtra, the social targets are way behind other States like TN, Kerala. The latest news is from Orissa where the death rates are higher than national average.
In UP, the development challenge is rather grim. As one expert had noted that if UP is allowed to follow the current development priorities, it would take 100 years to reach the socio-economic goals, education health and other Human Development Index! So, UP/Bihar do need radical priorities. Say, a time bound set targets, say only in enrolment of children and healthcare delivery at all primary health centres.
The next three years, let us decide, we concentrate only on these two goals. And put all our energies into reaching a set target like covering all the districts and primary health centres.
This can be done. That is the point. How?
See the two recent case studies.
One in Karnataka, the government had introduced Yeshaswini scheme. This is a cooperative healthcare scheme. The new Minister for Cooperation R.V.Deshpande had given some details of the scheme. He says :
The Yeshaswini Cooperative Farmers Healthcare Scheme, he said has caught the attention of the world. Harvard University in the U.S. instituted a Yeshaswini Chair on their own to study the scheme. The Rockfeller Foundation of US also expressed keen interest to take part in the programme. Over 80,000 farmers were treated under the scheme. It has been decided to enrol farm labourers by taking up a special drive.
Referring to the functioning of sugar cooperatives, he said the Deputy Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, has cleared a Rs.34 crore proposal to approach National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) for pre-operative expenses of seven sugar factories.
He said a woollen cooperative textile mill at a cost of Rs.9.5 crores will be established at Ranebennur. There is a proposal to seek financial support from NCDC to open a chilli processing women’s cooperative at Byadgi to manufacture chilli powder.
Of the 32,804 cooperative societies, 19,142 are running under profit. Of the 21 district cooperative banks, six are under loss.
Asked about elections to boards of cooperatives societies, he said that the next Cabinet meeting will decide on the issue. He ruled out political interference in the day-to-day functioning of cooperatives. The cooperative sector should be revamped to take up this cooperative farmers health scheme. The second healthcare scheme is again in Karnataka. This is corporate initiative in which a corporate company along with another corporate hospital had joined.
Healthcare for the masses
Affordable healthcare to our billion people
Biocon Foundation and Narayana Hrudayalaya have tied up with ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company to launch a new rural healthcare scheme called Arogya Raksha Yojana (ARY).
Affordable medical care for rural dwellers was the goal of the scheme, said the Biocon CMD, Ms Kiran Mazumdarshaw, and the Narayana Hrudayalaya Chairman, Dr.Devi Shetty.
The first phase of the scheme launched this week will touch over six lakh people residing in Anekal taluk near Bangalore and will be taken across the State in the coming months, according to Biocon Foundation.
Under ARY, people of rural India can access high quality healthcare services of a network of renowned hospitals and clinics at affordable rates. The health insurance scheme starts at Rs.120 per year per person and covers critical illnesses and surgeries and also offers free or subsidised medical examinations and low-cost medicine.
Its other services include free out-patient consultation, generic medicine at special rates from network hospital pharmacies and BioCare Pharmacies, diagnostic tests at discounted rates at the hospitals, up to three days of non-surgical hospitalisation and free surgical interventions. Karuna Trust, a charitable organisation run by Dr.H.Sudarshan, will manage BioCare Pharmacies. Prof.Muhammad Yunus, MD of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, inaugurated the first ARY centre with a clinic, office and BioCare Pharmacy at Huskar village in Anekal.
Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD of Biocon, said. “With India’s huge disease burden, there is a pressing need for healthcare to be made affordable to the masses. With the setting up of BioCare Pharmacies, we aim to provide the people of rural India with high quality medicine at discounted prices. This project will achieve our dream of providing affordable healthcare to one billion Indians.”
Ms Smitha Aggarwal, Head — Rural & Agriculture Business Group, ICICI Lombard, said the need for health insurance products in these areas had been felt for a long time.
Narayana Hrudayalaya is a super-specialty cardiac hospital. ICICI Lombard is a 74:26 joint venture between ICICI Bank Ltd and Fairfax Financial Holdings ltd; Lombard Canada is a group company of Fairfax.