Corporate companies must boldly invest in healthcare for CSR spending – Here’s why

NGOs working with corporate partners have unquestionably created positive impact in the areas of operations and to the societies they cater too. This has been merely possible because of navigating in environments which encourage progress.

Nevertheless, healthcare in India has been a concerted challenge. Running healthcare programme as a CSR is not a piece of cake. However the investment made in CSR spending on healthcare is largely rewarding if done in the right manner. 70% of people in India lose what they earn due to out of pocket expenditure they incur.

There are some NGOs I personally know who run the healthcare intervention for photo-optics because some corporates approached them going by their historical branding but they are pretty miserable when it comes to implementing healthcare.

Corporate companies must understand that healthcare programmes need to be run and led by doctors and medical NGOs with proven track record in this domain. It cannot be executed by popular brands who initially started off focusing on other agendas and to cash into market opportunities have suddenly taken a turn into healthcare.

Ask your social conscience if you want to merely spend the budget you have or do you want it to have a lasting change in the lives of whom you touch.

Visionary corporations negotiate for quality, not for overheads and human resource. That is very important.

The Supreme Court called healthcare a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. Yet our spending on healthcare has been little over 1%. Primary healthcare has become primitive healthcare today with disproportionate human resource.

India has to go another 200 years for healthcare dynamics to change with the current rate of progress and investment. Mind you, I am being liberal when I say 200 years.

I have been a proponent of Door-Step Doctors in an age of door-step delivery. India does not need high end private hospitals, what India needs is low cost high quality door step healthcare.

The opportunity for the private sector is apt now for supporting strategic initiatives through CSR spending in healthcare. To see grass-root change, we need to engage in grass-root spending and not arm-chair optics.

If you want to influence community development, if you want to engage in primary healthcare, if you want better nutrition for India’s angels, If you want more effective risk reduction strategies, if you want to rise above politics of motherhood and heal the world, The moment to converge is right now to establish your presence in achieving Sustainable Development besides changing lives forever.

About the author: Dr. Edmond Fernandes is a community health physician and public policy expert working in the development sector leading efforts for CHD Group as CEO. He is also Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council and US State Department Alumni.

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