By Dr Vijay Panickar, Arogya World
In recognition of its path-breaking efforts to advocate the need for wellness in the workplace, Arogya World was recognized as 2015’s “Corporate Wellness Champion” at the India Health & Wellness Summit and Awards 2015 (IHWSA), held in New Delhi last month.
Instituted to “applaud the efforts of individuals and organizations working to improve India’s healthcare scenario,” the second iteration the IHWSA continues its mission to drive home the need for accessible and affordable healthcare facilities to the entire spectrum of Indian citizens. The yearly meetings (and their media outputs) provide both a rare platform for discussion between the varied stakeholders of health and, through its media output, a clear channel to inspire and involve the ultimate recipient: the average Indian.
There is growing realization that to truly and effectively advocate wellness as the foundation for any long-term healthcare initiative, the inclusive approach that Arogya World has championed since its inception is necessary. Held this year in the green heart of New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri Diplomatic Enclave, the summit’s list of invited speakers and award nominees reflected this: institutions initially considered end-users or regulators have been now been pulled into the discussion. This insures that ideation, conceptualization, development, and implementation of healthcare initiatives can be rolled out in an integrated manner, likely improving buy-in and effectiveness.
Multiple panel discussions, 20 high powered speakers, and over 600 participants from international organizations (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF), Indian corporations (Hero MotoCorp, Mother Diary), healthcare providers (Paras Hospitals and the Fortis Group), and the government (ministers of health and tourism) ensured that the discussions were lively and interactive. Information, considered common knowledge in certain domains, was found to be revelatory to a larger audience, particularly about non-communicable diseases (NCDs):
- 30 million Indians have been diagnosed with diabetes; millions more are suspected to be undiagnosed.
- India has 50 million heart patients, expected to triple in the next 20 years
- The average Indian spends 70% of their disposable income on healthcare.
While this news was grave, the very real possibility of mechanisms to prevent their continued spread was encouraging:
- Proper diet and exercise initiatives can significantly reduce NCDs.
- Initiation of prevention programs, especially school education and workplaces, are shown to be highly effective.
- A revised nutritional table, specific to India, is being developed to localize and optimize dietary recommendations.
- Technology is being leveraged to reduce cost, minimize complexity, and increase participation.
The conclusions, while widely applauded, were of particular satisfaction to Arogya World as they validated our approach to NCD prevention:
- Focus on behavioral modification as opposed to pharmaceutical prophylaxis.
- Encourage students and employees through the “Healthy Schools” and “Healthy Workplace” programs, using tools like Arogya World’s myThali initiative and myArogya mobile phone app.
There was a palpable sense of excitement among the participants with many commenting on an increased sense of community and momentum in the disease prevention field. This coming together of previously disparate groups, of which Arogya World will be in the forefront, to combine knowledge and drive agendas bodes well for the future of NCD prevention.