Commentary and opinion on national and regional politics by Seema Malhotra

Monday, 31 January 2011

Dishaa and the Healthcare challenge

Day 1 of #dishaa began with an early morning pre-breakfast walk with a fellow participant around the grounds of the training centre. It’s a fairly common thing for Indians to go for an early morning walk – and indeed a wonderful way to start the day. It allows you to see much of what is around you with more time to absorb. Perhaps most fascinating was the beautiful trees with amazing roots (will post a pic tomorrow!) – trees that have been here for generations and around which has grown the Tata Management Training Centre, a place that grows human talent and is now exporting that expertise around the world. Some highlights of today were discussions around @CommonPurpose principles, a sharing of thoughts on the week’s strategic question of how we can reduce the cost of heart surgery around the world to less than $1000.
Characteristics of great leaders and levels of listening were ongoing themes of the day, culminating in a wonderfully insightful discussion with Dr Shetty, who spoke to us via video link in between surgeries. He has conducted over 70,000 heart operations in India and is constantly innovating around different and new forms of sustainable funding particularly to increase access to surgery and cardiac care for people in remote and rural areas. The discussion around this developed into thinking about the extent to which one country can bring down its health costs on its own, and indeed the extent to which an international strategy for global healthcare could have a bigger impact on reducing costs of R&D, production and provision of drugs and healthcare. Technology has brought down the costs of cars, mobile phones, computers and much else – what about the cost of healthcare?
Looking forward to tomorrow when we’ll be visiting hospitals and related charitable practices in the Pune area to understand more about challenges and costs of local health care provision.