When CSR budgets are directed towards addressing health issues in India, miracles happen. These miracles are not always visible, but grow slowly into the hearts and minds of those who receive it. Their voice may also never reach the person who should hear it, but in the end, they win. Let it not be denied to them.
Healthcare is not stethoscope and pills. In fact it has little to do with it at all. The Indian healthcare problem has been protected because for long we have gone by the dictum of curative healthcare, rather than engaging in factors that prevent people from falling sick in the first place. Our billion beats nation cannot be managed through a fragmented curative narrative of health governance. What India needs is an approach that factors in social determinants of health.
What India needs is a new altruistic philosophy that really, through the most pure intention converges.
When a family slips into poverty because, the bread winner dies due to a road accident, it hurts everyone’s health. When India’s children cannot afford two square meals and get pushed into nutritional deficiency disorder, the burden magnifies on the nation state and neighbourhoods as well.
When socio-economically backward families do not seek healthcare, because they don’t have access to it, or rather it is going to burn the monetary pockets, it is our problem. When India loses $10 billion every year due to natural disasters, it is not directly visible, but kills communities slowly and steadily and paralyzes the aspiration to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and build smart cities for the future.
We lead the world in road traffic accidents, we were once branded the world’s most depressed country, and our infectious disease burden remains sizeable high, while our non communicable disease burden continues to see an upward trend perhaps leading upto 2025 to be the Diabetic Capital of the world. Disasters destroy life and livelihood and what took 60 years to build, gets washed away in 6 minutes.
Our public health systems aren’t the best in the world and our spending is meagre. While disease and death are at our corridors, imagine the potential there exist to unleash and strengthen health systems, who should do it; if not us, when must we do it, if not now? To those stolen generations, we must be sorry.
Notwithstanding the politics involved, healthcare has never been the discussion of the electorate due to which we have never seen a healthcare revolution.
This is our moment of challenge and also of opportunity and to be a worthy example at every moment, every hour stands before us.
The CSR budget which can be channelled to achieve performance indicators can be a living example of case studies for the world to learn. The CSR spending by companies must not be seen as a burden to be borne, it must be seen as a loyalty to cherish, with a great sense of duty, not just towards the society we collectively aspire to build, but towards our fellow human beings and towards humanity at large.
Many CSR companies live under the illusion that big organizations can only deliver which is often not true and history has been witness to it. Plenty of examples exist in India which suggests that bigger organizations showcase lesser transparency and that is why enlightened CSR companies must never outsource the budget to consultancy firms and rather identify honest talent through their search and acquisition teams and networks.
It is also important that senior management take some time off to join some programmes and activities and motivate grass-root level institutions. Building power from below is something which cannot really be put into words but only appreciated in the remembering. I am a firm believer that CSR Companies must build a healthcare future which will be humanity’s greatest dignity, a social duty and also a delight.
While this happens, these companies must not just provide a budget, but must also mentor grass-root institutions if need be to scale up prospects and help them achieve greater heights for the greater glory of communities. It is easy to build a tall tower, it takes time and effort to build people.
While this happens, civil society organizations (CSOs) must also ensure that great amount of accountability, transparency becomes a way of life. Everyone understands that basic income is essential for everyone’s survival and no one will deny that, but to swindle money through illegitimate means is nothing but a pernicious under-belly of compromise which will never really serve any good purpose in the end.
To the months leading upto 2018, a paradigm shift to mainstream healthcare and factor in the CSR mandate will position India’s health indicators differently and will also enhance the Human Development Index over time.
In the end, what do we live for if not to help others? Can we all join in to be at the forefront of changing human destinies forever, through our work and our words? India is waiting for a healthcare miracle.
TIMES OF INDIA