‘Our ultimate goal is to improve access to healthcare’

Tata Trusts’s R. Venkataramanan, and GE Healthcare’s Terri Bresenham on how their firms’ partnership will help the healthcare ecosystem in India


Terri Bresenham of GE Healthcare and Tata Trusts’s R. Venkataramanan. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
Terri Bresenham of GE Healthcare and Tata Trusts’s R. Venkataramanan. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint

Mumbai: Tata Trusts and GE Healthcare on Monday signed a partnership to train 10,000 young people over the next three years in various technical support areas of healthcare to bridge a skill gap in this area. GE will provide course content while Tata Trusts will provide loan scholarships.

In an interview, R. Venkataramanan, managing trustee of Tata Trusts, and Terri Bresenham, president and chief executive (Sustainable Healthcare Solutions) at GE Healthcare, talk about how this partnership will help the healthcare ecosystem in India.

Edited excerpts:

Isthereanything in terms of institution building you are planning which will let you go beyond this 10,000 number?

Bresenham: Content needs to get developed on an ongoing basis. Technology is constantly evolving, practising medicine is constantly changing and another element is to connect students who graduate (with) online capacity to sustain their relevance.

We want to create life-long learners and creating access to changes which are going on. This is clearly an important aspect to expand the healthcare system. There is dearth of skills. There is lack of quality care being delivered. Training in this respect is not technical training, it is also of soft skills.

Our investment is in two forms. One, investing in technology which brings down the cost. Two, improving quality, access (in the healthcare ecosystem). We can bring content and training process but they can bring capabilities.

Venkataramanan: We have several ongoing partnership with multiple states in water sanitation, rural livelihood, education, etc.

More important is the type of engagements we do with the communities. We also work with close to 450 grassroots organizations.

How does this programme tie in with other things GE is doing?

Bresenham: Our ultimate goal is to improve access to healthcare. There is estimated 5.8 billion people who don’t have access to quality care.

Access to care is linked to affordability, so we need to bring down the cost. We are working disruptively to take out cost from technology side of the equation. Skill is another important element.

How do you measure the success of such a programme?

Venkataramanan: One is the number of people trained, employability matrix and the most important one is time frame (of three years). It’s also about what difference does it make to communities where they (people who are trained) live in, how we capture that stories in a sustainable way. This is the matrix which we will be looking at.

Bresenham: The mutual goal of having 50% women as students is also important aspect.

What is the cost of this programme?

Venkataramanan: The average cost comes close to around Rs86,000 per person depending upon the protocol which one opts for. We will get considerable support from the government in existing infrastructure. We are looking at innovative financing mechanisms. The key point is that everyone will be provided equal opportunity, irrespective of affordability part.

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