World health day

World Health Day is a day of reflection and action, a day to shine a spotlight on the importance of good health and the need for access to quality healthcare for all. Every year on April 7th, the world comes together to celebrate this day, acknowledging the challenges we face and the progress we have made in the field of global health. With the theme of “Health for All” for World Health Day 2023, it is time to renew our commitment to ensuring that everyone has access to healthcare services, regardless of their race, gender, age, or socio-economic status. So let’s take a moment to reflect on the state of global health, celebrate the successes, and recognise the work that still needs to be done to create a healthier, more equitable world.

Access to healthcare is a fundamental human right, yet millions of people around the world still lack access to basic healthcare services. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), at least half of the world’s population does not have access to essential health services, and over 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year due to the cost of healthcare.

To achieve the goal of health for all, it is essential to address the underlying social determinants of health, such as poverty, education, and housing. These factors can have a significant impact on an individual’s health outcomes and access to healthcare services. For example, individuals living in poverty are more likely to experience poor health outcomes due to a lack of access to nutritious food, safe housing, and quality healthcare services.

Governments and policymakers have a critical role to play in ensuring that everyone has access to healthcare services. This includes investing in healthcare infrastructure, expanding health insurance coverage, and prioritising health equity. In addition, healthcare providers must prioritise patient-centered care and work to address systemic inequalities in healthcare.

Achieving health for all is not just a moral imperative; it is also a smart investment in global health and development. By prioritising healthcare access and equity, we can improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities around the world.

Industry Speaks:

Dr. Lohith G Reddy, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Clinical lead – Radiomics & AI in cancer, Clinical Director – Immuno – RAD, HCG Hospital, Bengaluru

“As we celebrate World Health Day and its theme of ‘health for all,’ it reminds us of the urgent need to ensure that every patient in the country has access to comprehensive quality healthcare. Cancer treatment is evolving in India, mainly in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Hence, the scalability of technology in cancer care becomes essential for providing continuous care while keeping the highest standards across all geographies. In cancer care, enhancing primary prevention through effective screening and early diagnosis would be a practical approach. Screening has been shown to boost overall survival by spotting cancer in its early stages and placing it under the proper form of treatment. Patient-centric, precision approaches with cutting-edge technologies like Radiation therapy, Artificial Intelligence, etc. need to be given strong emphasis and in turn with the implementation of value-based healthcare and hence the goal of achieving Health for all.”

Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder & Director Ujala Cygnus Group of HospitalsShuchin Bajaj

“Cancer is a word, not a sentence – This quote by John Diamond is a reminder that a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and frightening, but it does not have to define the rest of your life. With proper treatment, support, and a positive outlook, many cancer patients are able to overcome this disease and lead fulfilling lives. World Health Day is a time to raise awareness about cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment, and to support those who are currently battling this disease.”

Dr Sunita Kapoor, Director, and Consultant Pathologist at City X-Ray & Scan Clinic

“Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide and so cancer awareness is the need of the hour. Prevention of cancer is only possible if one is fully aware of the disease and knows what steps to take if a need arises. It is always a good idea to stay abreast of cancer prevention, its diagnosis, and treatment. Did you know that as many as 30-50% of deaths due to cancer could have been prevented? This is possible by identifying risk factors and applying evidence-based prevention strategies. People of all ages, including children, can develop cancer. As the responsibility of educating kids lies in the hands of their caretakers, parents and teachers should educate and encourage children to attend educational workshops on cancer awareness. Organizing camps in rural areas is a great way to reach out to people who do not have access to healthcare resources. People should know that smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, exposure to carcinogens such as specific chemicals and harmful radiation including UV rays from sunlight, obesity, and family history are leading risk factors for different types of cancer. The most common cancers affecting the Indian population are breast, oral, cervical, gastric, colorectal and lung malignancies. With India accounting for 8.5 lakh cancer-related deaths in 2020, awareness of cancer becomes all the more important. When our bodies show abnormal signs, we should never take that lightly. This is particularly important for people whose family members have a history of malignancy. The absence of awareness could lead to a poor response to screening procedures and a delayed diagnosis. Undergoing regular screenings and tests as suggested by your doctor should be made a practice by everyone, irrespective of family history of cancer.”

Vikram Thaploo, CEO-Telehealth, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited

“The healthcare industry is experiencing a surge in digital transformation, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread adoption of internet and smartphones, and government efforts such as the National Digital Health Mission and Make in India. This rapid digitization is paving the way for innovative solutions in healthcare and is expected to create numerous opportunities for companies and manufacturers in the sector. As digital innovation continues to gather momentum, patients are likely to benefit from improved outcomes.

India’s healthcare system faces numerous challenges including a large population (1.4 billion estimated in 2023), social and gender disparities, geographical gaps, and a shortage of resources (the ratio of allopathic doctors to people is 1:1511 and the number of registered nurses is 3.3 million). The digitization of India’s healthcare system is a crucial step towards overcoming these challenges.”

Dr Pavan Asalapuram, Co-Founder, EMPE Diagnostics

“Health problems are alarmingly increasing across the globe due to several factors such as genetic predisposition, sedentary lifestyle, lack of medical infrastructure, and diagnostic scarcity among others. Every year on World Health Day, medical facilitators globally sensitize people about the importance of timely and accurate diagnosis and encourage them to adopt preventive measures to curb the menace of rising health concerns. This year’s theme ‘Health for All’ represents the gravity of addressing growing health problems like heart attacks, tuberculosis, diabetes and kidney ailments among other debilitating diseases. We are aware of India’s plight of being overburdened with diseases which can be reversed by implementing efficacious and tangible diagnostic facilities that are economically viable. The government is currently diligently combating the escalating numbers of patients contracting communicable and non-communicable diseases, particularly in the aftermath of Covid-19. Patients are also concerned about lingering symptoms, rendering them more susceptible to numerous ailments. The World Health Organization’s data indicate that Tuberculosis (TB), which is the second most lethal infectious disease after Covid-19, followed by HIV/AIDS, necessitates urgent attention. Additionally, the proliferation of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which the WHO recently declared a global health and development threat during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, is seriously impeding the government’s and healthcare providers’ efforts to eradicate the disease at the grassroots level through dedicated programs and initiatives like the National Tuberculosis Elimination Program. To contain TB and its impact, it is imperative to provide patients with TB diagnostic kits like MDR-TB, which can promptly detect drug resistance. There is no doubt that TB, along with other communicable diseases, is a significant concern worldwide, and it necessitates an aggressive diagnostic approach, particularly in India.”

Saurav Kasera, Co-Founder of CLIRNETSaurav_Kasera

“Comprehensive health awareness is directly linked to behavioral factors such as the washing of hands, vaccinations of families, practicing good food hygiene, safe sex, etc. When people begin to understand the risks of their lifestyle choices, they begin to make certain changes in their daily habits. Through healthy behavioral changes, the risk of contracting and spreading communicable diseases reduces.

Health awareness is also crucial for early detection, prevention and ensuring effective treatment. By being aware of diseases and their symptoms, people tend to take up preventive measures by going for regular check-ups.”

Atul Vaya, Chief Growth Officer at Alpha Healing Centeratul

“As a nation, India is gradually waking up to the importance of comprehensive health awareness. It is heartening to see that the government, NGOs, and the people of India are collectively contributing towards building a fit and healthy Bharat. As we see a rise of non-communicable diseases and lifestyle disorders, it has become more crucial than ever to prioritize health and preventive wellness in India. From promoting physical activity to encouraging a balanced diet and equal importance to mental well-being, there is a growing realization that a holistic approach toward health is needed. We may be faring well in terms of medical treatment and cure, however, we need to work a lot more on the prevention of diseases. Indeed, there is still a long way to go. It is essential to engage with communities, especially those in rural areas, and educate them on the importance of preventive healthcare, increase awareness of yoga, meditation, naturopathy and Ayurveda. Also, initiatives must be taken to address health inequalities and ensure that healthcare services are accessible and affordable to all. With concerted efforts, we can build a healthier and happier India that is equipped to tackle the health challenges of the future and perhaps become one of the wealthiest countries in the world.”

Prashant Kashyap, Co-Founder & COO, Connect and Healmukesh

“For an economy’s progressive growth, having healthy people becomes an important objective. Today, many healthcare companies are leveraging technology to provide reliable care throughout the customer journey – making it easier to discover, make choices and avail services online – through either web, app, or messaging. This enables faster access to primary care to everyone irrespective of their geographical location. Using technology, doctors in their practice are equipped with tools like differential diagnosis, automated dosage calculators, and health risk assessment forms. Technology is empowering healthcare providers to offer high-quality outcomes to patients. There is an opportunity to further leverage technology – especially a combination of heuristics and Machine Learning to provide personalized care journeys based on individual requirements.

This World Health Day, our aim at Connect and Heal Care is to provide comprehensive and affordable healthcare solutions for everyone by using our high-quality service network and a state-of-the-art technology platform.”

Dr Mukesh Batra, Padma Shri Recipient, Founder and Chairman, Dr Batra’s Healthcare

“Digitisation has influenced every industry, and post-pandemic, it has become the most significant part of our life. The trends that emerged in the healthcare industry are data sharing, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) technologies, and Quality Assurance Testing in Healthcare, which has been espoused all over India. It has been noticed that the development of cloud-based solutions and IT technologies to provide accessible healthcare services and products has been aided by telemedicine, blockchain electronic health records, data analytics, and the evolution of remote care. Overall, technology has significantly improved access to healthcare, decreased medical errors, and customized therapies for specific patients while also giving doctors better diagnostic tools and access to real-time data.”

Nakul Jain, Director – Solutions at Wadhwani AI

“According to the WHO, 30% of the global population still lacks access to essential healthcare services, which highlights the urgent need for innovative solutions to bridge the gap. At Wadhwani AI, we believe that tech-enabled solutions can help overcome barriers to healthcare access and make healthcare for all a reality. By leveraging the power of AI and data, we can optimize healthcare delivery, improve diagnostic accuracy, and ultimately save lives. Our focus on developing scalable AI-powered interventions across tuberculosis, maternal and neonatal care has enabled us to make significant progress toward achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Arvind Vaishnav, Vice President, and Head of Philips Innovation Campus (PIC)Arvind Vaishnav

“The profound changes as a result of the pandemic – accelerated digital technology adoption as well as shift in consumer behaviour towards wellness – have pushed the industry to reimagine healthcare – using the power of data, AI, and cloud-based platforms – to identify new business models to improve health outcomes, lower the cost of care, and improve the human care experience for patients and staff (reduce staff burn out) alike. And this is exactly what we are pursuing at the Philips Innovation Campus. We envision the future of health to be a connected and highly accessible network of virtual and in-person care, with real-time and predictive insights supporting care collaboration across the patient journey. Further, AI-enabled workflow optimization can help improve operational efficiency so that healthcare professionals get to focus on what they do best: providing patient care. And, by enabling people to take better care of their health and well-being, with personalized digital health solutions, we can promote a shift from sick care to true health care. Put together, we strongly believe digital transformation can support better health outcomes, improve patient, and staff experiences, and lower cost of care.”

Dr Rajeev Rajesh, Chief Yoga Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute

“With the fast-paced world we live in, our lifestyle has transformed dramatically. We have become accustomed to relying on unhealthy shortcuts, consuming junk food, and participating in less physical activity. Regrettably, this unhealthy lifestyle has led to many diseases, and we are the primary contributors to them.

However, both Yoga and Naturopathy have proven to be beneficial for everyone and have emerged as the best cure for human beings. Naturopathy embraces a path of ‘self-healing’ as it recognizes the power of human bodies to combat diseases without the need for medicines. This highly personalized treatment involves effective restoring techniques, self-care decisions, and much more, all of which can help prevent future health issues. We are aware that lifestyle diseases are primarily caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. By altering their diet to improve the digestive system, individuals can ward off lifestyle diseases and lead healthier lives. Yoga, on the other hand, is a spiritual discipline rooted in a very subtle science that focuses on achieving harmony between the mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living, and numerous studies have affirmed its many physical and mental benefits. Incorporating it into daily routines can help improve health, enhance strength and flexibility, and reduce symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. Finding time to practice yoga on a regular basis can make a noticeable difference in one’s overall health.”

Deepak Sharma, Co-Founder & CEO, MedLern

“Even as the government has for the most part sent all the right signals on healthcare in this year’s budget, World Health Day must serve as a reminder of the need to make Indian healthcare infrastructure and delivery systems even more efficient than before. So, training and developing a skilled healthcare workforce would truly complement their wider initiatives for this sector. In this regard, while the focus on nursing education and the proposed establishment of nursing colleges as well as the announcement of a unified Skill India Digital Platform for healthcare skilling is a step forward, it is imperative that we go beyond, given the huge demand-supply gap that persists in our delivery systems. The rural-urban and the big city-small city gap is particularly a troubling handicap in our country. So, as the theme for this year’s World Health Day happens to be healthy for all, we must pledge and seek to implement this idea in totality on this important day. And to achieve this, the government must bring in and give sufficient policy and fiscal stimulus to private players who are willing to shoulder the responsibility of imparting healthcare education, skilling, and training to present and prospective healthcare workers — across ranks including medical and nursing students, practicing doctors, working nurses, paramedics, emergency care staff, etc. Today, digital and internet technologies have made it relatively easier to design, share and deliver globally accredited and recognized training programmes and curricula accounting for the latest research insights, protocols, and best practices. Those private health training providers making such courses available in the country must be encouraged fully. Health for all is not merely a policy goal, but a moral imperative.”

Shyatto Raha, Founder and CEO of MyHealthcareShyatto Raha

“The last couple of years have been challenging for the healthcare industry. We saw the importance of healthcare platforms and preparedness come to the forefront amidst the pandemic. It also taught us that ‘Healthcare for All’ is not a luxury but a basic necessity that should be available to all people, regardless of their socioeconomic status or place of residence. Providing healthcare for all involves ensuring that everyone has access to the necessary medical services, treatments, and medication they need to maintain good health and well-being. Technology in healthcare has played a significant role in achieving this by improving the quality and accessibility of healthcare services for patients in India. From electronic medical records to telemedicine and robotic surgery, technology has helped improve patient outcomes by transforming the way healthcare is being delivered. It is revolutionizing healthcare, making it more efficient, accessible, and personalised for patients.”

Aniruddha Sen, Co-Founder, Kenko HealthAniruddha

“Access to quality healthcare is a basic human right and this year’s World Health Day theme- “health for all” clearly resonates with the idea. It is more relevant in an era which is deeply impacted by a pandemic and rise in lifestyle diseases.

However, to ensure health for the masses, it is also important to ascertain that taking care of health is affordable for them. Skyrocketing medical inflation is affecting people’s ability to avail the basic healthcare services like doctor consultation, lab tests and medicines.

In a country like ours, while it is possible to get the cost of critical illness covered, OPD costs remain unaccounted for by traditional insurance companies, leaving millions of people without access to the care they need. This creates a need to bridge this gap by redefining the way insurance products are designed and priced to promote easy accessibility.

We believe that promoting “health for all” is not just a moral imperative, but a sound economic decision. The wave of digital transformation in India has opened enormous opportunities in the healthcare sector already. Digital financing in healthcare, with a comprehensive approach, can be a game changer and enabler of not just ‘Health for All’ but also in our quest towards creating a strong, happy and healthy nation.”

Vivek Srivastava, Co-founder and CEO, HCAHSrivastava

“Quality healthcare is a basic human right that should be available to everyone, regardless of their social or economic status. This year’s World Health Day theme, ‘Healthcare for All,’ reminds us of the urgent need for healthcare providers and policymakers to work towards building a world where everyone has access to quality healthcare services.

At HCAH, we are committed to making healthcare accessible by working on increasing the capacity of the country by providing a wide range of services including stroke and other post hospitalization rehab, long-term critical/acute care services at centers & home and skilled nursing services in centers and home. These services are much more economical than the hospital and are covered by insurance. We believe that technology plays a significant role in achieving this goal and have a phygital model to deliver.

We believe that the healthcare industry must work towards making healthcare accessible to all, and we are proud to be part of this effort.”

Jitendra Chouksey, Co-founder & CEO of FittrJitendra Chouksey

“Technology has revolutionized the healthcare industry and provided us with a plethora of tools and resources to promote holistic well-being. From wearable devices that track physical activity to online resources that provide access to knowledge, information and telemedicine services, technology has made it much easier to monitor our health and manage chronic conditions. It also continues to play an important role in promoting mental health, with apps and online resources that offer stress-management tools, meditation exercises, and virtual therapy services.

However, it’s important to remember that technology can’t replace professional health advice and treatment. We must continue working with healthcare professionals to develop personalized health plans considering our unique health needs and circumstances. With the right balance of technology and professional guidance, we can harness the power of technology to promote health and well-being and improve health outcomes for people around the world.”

Pratik Gauri, Co – Founder & CEO, 5irePratik Gauri

“As the health system landscape moves toward a more patient-centered approach, the focus is also shifting to two main aspects: accessible services and appropriate healthcare resources at all times. Blockchain enhances healthcare organizations to provide adequate patient care and high-quality health facilities. Health Information Exchange is another time-consuming and repetitive process that leads to high health industry costs, quickly sorted out using this technology. Because of the availability of better data security and management at a lower cost, blockchain-based healthcare management systems are gaining more and more popular both in practical and research sectors. The research interest in blockchain-based healthcare systems has skyrocketed over the last decade.

For future research, there needs to be more comprehensive information gathering and representation of the prior activities in this sector. The most significant problems faced in healthcare today are data protection, sharing, and interoperability in public health management. This particular problem is solvable by using Blockchain. Blockchain technology enhances security, data exchange, interoperability, integrity, and real-time updating and access when correctly implemented.

There are also significant concerns about data protection, especially in the fields of personalized medicine and wearables. Patients and medical personnel require safe and straightforward means of recording, sending, and consulting data over networks without safety concerns; thus, Blockchain technology is implemented to resolve these issues.”deepti

Prof. Deepti Ganapathy, Chair-Centre for Management Communication at IIM Bangalore “On World Health Day, as we look into the future, we need a decisive investment into health infrastructure and policies from governments and private sector alike to give rise to a healthy population that feels well supported emotionally and physically to be happy and productive in their life.”

In conclusion, World Health Day serves as a reminder that good health is not a privilege, but a fundamental human right. Access to quality healthcare services should be available to everyone, regardless of their background or financial situation. As we reflect on the progress made in the field of global health, let us also acknowledge that there is still much work to be done. By investing in healthcare infrastructure, prioritising health equity, and addressing the underlying social determinants of health, we can work towards creating a healthier, more equitable world for all. So on this World Health Day, let us renew our commitment to the goal of “Health for All” and work together to ensure that everyone can lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

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