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Swati Piramal, vice-chairperson, Piramal Group
Swati Piramal, vice-chairperson, Piramal Group

‘SDGs will be a dream if we don’t prioritize the vulnerable’

  • Optimisation of resources, experiences and skills is crucial if we want to transform the healthcare system
  • Big data and artificial intelligence will be key enablers of public health planning and execution

With 2019 drawing to a close, Mint invites thought leaders to share ideas that will impact the 2020s, a period that once seemed futuristic enough for policymakers to set as a target for transformation at scale. As 2020 marks the start of the 10-year countdown to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals, Swati Piramal, vice-chairperson, Piramal Group, tells Shrija Agrawal how healthcare can be transformed.

COLLABORATION AND RISK FINANCING

Optimisation of resources, experiences and skills is crucial if we want to transform the healthcare system. To realize the full potential of the expertise across private, public and philanthropic agencies, it is imperative that we join forces. A collaborative approach is the need of the hour. If innovation is to be fuelled, private firms need to back pilot projects as risk financing and partner with governments to scale up successful pilots.

ENABLE CREATION OF GRASSROOTS LEADERS

The health system’s frontline workforce needs supportive supervision. Managers need to upgrade their skills, transforming themselves into mentors and leaders. Creating more leaders at the grassroots levels is critical to on-the-ground transformation. Leaders who collaborate and co-create strategies that can be implemented at scale will be torchbearers of transformation in the next decade.

AI TO CHANGE FACE OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Big data and artificial intelligence will be key enablers of public health planning and execution. AI will be invaluable in harnessing data to drive planning and decision-making. Availability of disaggregated data means that customized interventions would be designed for high-burden pockets rather than adopting a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Technology will change the face of public health.

SOLUTIONS TAILORED TO THE UNREACHED

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) will continue to remain a distant dream if we do not urgently prioritise the isolated, vulnerable and unreached populations. If we design and implement interventions specifically catering to the needs of these sections, we can imagine an exponential rise in the health status of our communities. Specially tailored solutions are needed for this.

ROBUST COMMUNITY MONITORING

Community monitoring can be visualised as a three-step process—educate, empower and ensure. Educating citizens generates demand and eventually empowers them to ensure accountability. The health system has to be made more accountable through robust community monitoring mechanisms. Involving community leaders of all faiths helps in getting basic healthcare to those who need it the most.

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