May 17, 2013
GBCHealth’s Shuma Panse opened the session with an overview of current public health challenges facing India. India not only has a large prevalence of infectious diseases and malnutrition, but non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have become an increasing concern as well. There is a lack of access to healthcare in many rural areas and on-going health disparities between the rich and the poor. In order to make significant progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Panse stressed the importance of focusing on India’s many health challenges.
Laura Herman, managing director of FSG, shared new research on how companies can use the shared value approach to tackle public health issues in India. The private sector usually engages in public health initiatives in three ways: corporate philanthropy, risk mitigation and shared value. Shared value is “enhancing the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates,” she said. Herman commended General Electric, Novartis, Nestlé and Unilever for addressing some of the health concerns in India using an inclusive shared value business model. To transition effectively to shared value business models, Herman suggested that companies use a top-down approach, understand that shared value is not a short-term endeavor and understand that corporate shared value is different than corporate social responsibility.
Nancy Goh, Partnerships Manager of Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), spoke about CHAI’s effort to address MDG 4, reducing child deaths, by scaling up access to zinc and ORS in India. Despite being preventable and treatable, diarrhea remains a public health challenge and is the second leading cause of death in India, causing approximately 212,000 deaths a year. CHAI aims to increase access to zinc and ORS in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Goh said that though zinc and ORS are effective and affordable diarrhea treatments, many patients don’t have access to them. Sankalp, a public-private partnership led by CHAI, aims to address this problem and prevent 200,000 child diarrhea deaths by 2015. Goh stressed that CHAI cannot tackle child diarrhea in India alone and needs new commitments and more partnerships with the private sector.
Ravi Kumar, CEO of the American Indian Foundation (AIF), gave insight into AIF’s public health endeavors, including the Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI). MANSI is a public-private partnership that aims to “reduce maternal and child mortality by providing care, resources and support to empower local communities to care for their mothers and children, and improve local health systems.” MANSI trains community health care workers so that they are able to assist in home-based care for mothers and infants. Kumar explained that the success of MANSI is due to strong partnerships, financial leverage, an emphasis on quality, program analysis, and strong monitoring and evaluation.