In recent times, a number of initiatives aimed at creating a holistic healthcare delivery mechanism have been undertaken across the State of Rajasthan, says Naveen Jain, Secretary & MD, National Health Mission, Medical, Health & Family Welfare, Government of Rajasthan, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
Q You have been at the helm at both Department of Medical, Health & Family Welfare, and at National Health Mission, Government of Rajasthan, if you were to reflect upon your tenure so far, how would you do that?
I have been in the department for last four years. When I started, I never imagined, I would be in this department for so long. In all these years, I tried my best to perform my duties. I have been a student of management and commerce.
With my 13 years of experience, I joined the department. Now, I have a total of 17 years of experience with four years of experience in the health sector, which is ever changing and is very dynamic. Here, I have been able to apply many management principles, logical thinking to various processes here, also using IT and technology for simplifying processes etc. I thank God for giving me this opportunity to serve a big State such as Rajasthan in this capacity because I have learnt a lot here.
I have been able to spend very quality time in the Department by starting many new initiatives. I have an excellent team with me now. Initially, team building was a bit challenging but once it was in place, we made use of it to launch many new schemes and implement them across the State.
Now many of our programmes have emerged as an example for many States. We have been able to run all our NHM initiatives very well. Also, we have been able to implement Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana (BSBY) scheme very well. Now, it is an example for many states. Our integrated ambulance scheme was initially very challenging but after two years of its initiation, I can say that we have been able to increase the usage of ambulance extensively across the State and our system will be ranked as one of the best systems when any audit will be conducted of all the ambulance systems in the country.
I see my four years of tenure as very rewarding and fulfilling and at the same time, I can also say that when somebody leaves the department, generally they become very humble and say that they should have tried more on one thing or the other but for me, definitely I would not say that – since I am hundred per cent satisfied with my work so far and I believe that my four years’ stint will help me get more exposure to this particular segment. I believe, my work towards ‘Save the Girl Child’ and ‘Daughters are Precious’ programmes will be remembered in the times to come.
Q Of the various initiatives launched in the Health Department, which one has been that you will cherish for a long time?
I think just as a father is not able to select a favourite child since all his children would be dear to him, so in the same way, I regard all my projects as my pet projects and all of them are close to my heart. And I have tried all my best to do justice to all of them. It started with Ashasoft that started just after five months of my joining. Today, the project is a big success story. It also received National Award by the Government of India for e-Governance in the second year of its implementation.
Then our ‘Daughters are Precious Award’ programme was nominated for PM award on Civil Service day. Though it could not get the award, it was appreciated greatly by people of Rajasthan and from the entire country. Our efforts on ‘daughters are precious programme’ and our decoy operations have resulted in a better child sex ratio which is today visible across the state.
Under Our Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakarm (RBSK) programme, that is very close to my heart, we achieved a rare feat of conducting free heart surgeries of more than 1,700 very poor children from deprived families. All such programmes are very close to my heart and I have used all my learning from my school and college times in implementing these. Hence, I believe that these programmes are a sort of management studies for us for which an out of out of box thinking was applied.
Q Coming from a management background and being in healthcare sector, how do you think this paradox works?
It was not a paradox. It was a blessing in disguise. Because if I had been a medical practitioner, I would have been more involved in one particular segment. But because I was not from medical background I was good to everybody. What I want to say is that I worked hard for every segment and I was not biased towards any specific stream.
I believe, what a medical practitioner needs is a system, and an enabling ecosystem. We as health managers provide just that. So, as a Mission Director, I work as a good manager. When the State government started Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana, I worked as a corporate manager.
I employed many management principles such as division of work, management by exception, out of the box thinking and many motivational theories and I can prove that by applying management into medical field, you can get very good results. Further, I think, my short study programme at IIM Ahmedabad turned out to be very beneficial to me, as I got very good case studies out of it. During my stint at National Health Mission, I could teach my staff, my team about these management theories and case studies.
Q What has been the biggest challenging project for you so far?
When Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana (BSBY) was initiated, I was a bit skeptical about the roadmap for its implementation. I was thinking this scheme may or may not work in Rajasthan. I also thought that all my hard work as MD, NHM will now be washed away and I may not get credit for my work as MD NHM. Instead, I may get brickbats for not running the BSBY scheme efficiently. However, once on the task, I observed the scheme closely and I noticed that we needed to clarify many guidelines.
Then, I had a word with private hospitals, other stakeholders, insurance companies etc. I tried to understand the basic problem associated with the scheme. I found that private hospitals needed a very concrete assurance. I could give them that assurance. Having done so, today I can say that private hospitals believed in my assurances. Secondly, the State Government supported us very well. The honourable ACS madam, Chief Secretary Sir and all other higher officials supported us in all our endeavours.
Whenever there was any need, they were there for us. And this bureaucratic and political support was the real fuel behind the success of the scheme. Thirdly, the minimum document protocol idea was great. I think the idea worked well because earlier the insurance players were asking for too many documents from the hospitals.
Further, use of Asha Sahyoginis in taking the schemes to its real beneficiaries was a gamechanger, I would say. Even the Government of India realised that Aasha Sahyagonis could be used to popularise those schemes that are meant for masses such as National Food Security Act beneficiaries and I believe the idea of video conferencing with Aasha Sahyoginis was a wonderful idea. Then we did a great use of social media. We thought like corporate and advertised our message just as a corporate player would do. As a result, we were able to break many barriers and all such initiatives led to BSBY becoming a popular scheme.
Q How do you see the future of healthcare in Rajasthan?
In the last four years, I have learnt various systems, have attended many conferences. I have been able to learn about concepts such as nutrition malnutrition, NCDs, and all these learning I have used in making myself a good learner.
Going forward, I would like to see an integrated platform containing all health-related data on one single platform. Because today we collect various informations from various non-related platforms, and vendors who use different programmes, and hence a digital integration of all such information is one idea that I would like to see taking shape in the future.