By Bhaskar Chakrabarti- Professor, Public Policy & Management Group, IIM Calcutta
This issue of TSEC newsletter presents a microcosm of the diversity of work happening in India in social entrepreneurship. First, Shalabh Mittal, who has set up the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) shares his experience and talks about issues that concern entrepreneurs. This includes the art of seeking help, prioritisation and what-to-do when things-go-wrong. Second, we learn about Krishworks, which helps rural micro-entrepreneurs set up their own after-school English centres to teach children how to communicate in English through extensive use of ICT. Finally, Medi 360 shares with us the ‘tricks’ to create health impact and improve health outcome by reducing cost with seamless connectivity to secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities.
We hope you will enjoy reading this issue.
By Team Medi 360.
The state of medical care in India at an overall level is by no means rosy with about 0.7 doctors per 1000 population (against 1 per 1000 recommended by WHO), the situation in rural India is much worse. Rural India which accounts for 69% of the population, faces a grim situation — only 21% of the country’s 10 lakh doctors serve them.
Rural patients are primarily dependent on Government infrastructure for medical care and while the system is well-thought-out the implementation is where we fall short. The three-tier public health-care system which rests on a base of sub-centres (SC) and primary health centres (PHCs) which are supposed to take care of common ailments. However, these are often poorly staffed leading the patients to higher level CHCs directly. When we look at statistics of PHCs, 8% of the centres do not include medical staff as well as doctors, 39% of PHCs do not have lab technicians and 18% of them lack pharmacists.
With the shortage of doctors there is a need to strengthen the primary infrastructure. Primary care is where the maximum bang for the healthcare spending buck can be realized, with prevention-oriented primary care ideally suited for health and cost improvement. Few examples are communicable disease control and prevention through timely tests, lifestyle chronic disease control through timely interventions etc.
However, the shortage of medical professionals is a reality that cannot be ignored. While NMC bill and other state / central government initiatives looks to onboard medical professionals from alternative systems into the mainstream through bridge courses and other means, the reality is that such schemes have not seen the light of the day.
With increasing deployment of telecommunication technology infrastructure in rural areas Tele-health has been increasingly seen as a viable option. The advantages of Tele-health solutions when deployed in the right manner are many fold:
Few successful initiatives in this area are:
We at Medi360 realized that the only way to create health impact and improve health outcome is by providing end-to-end healthcare services, not just IoT device and scheduling application. We also realized that no single entity in the sector can achieve the health outcomes and deliver results. However, the private sector health facilities must not only be accessible to the needy and poor, but must also be affordable. We knew there are hand held devices that can check blood pressure, pulse, saturation, ECG, sugar, Hb%. Devices like digital stethoscope and otoscope can provide basic diagnosis for a remote doctor to make a decision on writing prescription. Diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obstructive lung diseases, chronic heart failure, skin diseases, routine cold, cough and fever can easily be managed online.
With all these factors in mind, we started our venture Medi360 wherein we built low footprint physical & mobile clinic in underserved populations, manned by technician equipped with Point-of-Care IoT based diagnostics devices, provide online video consultations through committed physician & hospital network, dispense medicine as well conduct advanced diagnostics test through online business partners. We also partner with tertiary care clinics & hospitals to manage affordable tertiary care needs specially for cardiac and neuro patients.
Today we are running 18 clinics in rural India and serving over hundreds of individuals daily from underprivileged populations. We believe that success is never a zero sum game,when customers, providers and the government win, you win.
By Shalabh Mittal, CEO, School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) India
One of the reasons for the emerging entrepreneurial culture within India is the social networking boom along with a vast improvement in exposure to television and digital media among the youth today. Modern Indian youth are at the vanguard of a social transformation that reflects rising education, economic aspirations and participation in global opportunities which brings about a free flow of ideas since people are connected beyond boundaries and differences of any nature.
I got engaged in setting up the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) in India because I related to the philosophy of its work – which focuses on the individual. For us, human interaction leading to individual transformation is at the core of the SSE India programme. While I have worked with social entrepreneurs, I have encountered several other issues that hold them back to unleash their potential. During SSE India’s first Social Start-up programme which ran for nine months, our 16 Fellows encountered many challenges and I would like to expand on five of them, as by understanding and preparing for these pain points ahead of time, one will be better equipped to deal with complications as and when they arise.
Entrepreneurs are not generally subject to a specific pain because most of us have succeeded by being great at solutions. I suppose the most frequent pain for entrepreneurs is the temporary growing pains we encounter. For most of us who are eager to explore, our pains lie outside our secure environment. When we live out our curiosity and make new discoveries, we slowly expand our comfort zone by becoming more familiar with more things, we explore the edge of our abilities, our limits and this is termed as ‘pain’. We can only make progress by choosing activities that take us out of our comfort zone because that’s the only way to consistently make progress and grow.
Krishworks helps rural micro-entrepreneurs to set up their own after-school English centres to teach children communication in English, through a tablet-based software.
In India, English is an official language and due to the ethnic diversity in the country it is unofficially used as the first language. For instance, English is used for filling up forms for various official purposes like in banks, government ID cards, for using computers and mobile phones among many others. Industries across the country that are modernizing and upgrading themselves are using English as the benchmark for their hiring procedures. This poses a huge barrier in villages where there are no quality options to enhance English language skills. In rural areas currently, 75% of the school-going children in the age of 8-9 years are unable to read English. Only about 50% of the remaining 25% can actually comprehend what they read. Deficiency of qualified English-speaking teachers, lack of motivation, absence of education-friendly environment and shortage of opportunities are some of the many reasons why the children in the rural areas are lagging behind in English education.
In order to address this issue, Subhojit Roy, founder of Krishworks and a B.Tech from JIS, Kolkata with over 7 years of industry experience and Balagopal K.V, co- founder of the company and a B.Tech from NITK Surathkal designed and is now delivering last mile tablet-based English learning solutions to the rural populations residing in the low Income states of India. This software is being used by both teachers and students in the rural areas to read, write and communicate in English thus, also leading to the creation of micro-entrepreneurs, who use Krishwork’s software to build a profitable, after-school activity centre.
At present, Krishworks serves 2 types of customers: 1. Entrepreneurs – A rural youth who is looking for an additional source of income. 2. Private Schools – Primary schools which want their students to attain fluency in English.
Krishworks earns its revenue by charging the entrepreneurs a franchise fee and a share of their monthly revenue while in case of schools, the parents of the students are the customers.
Till date, the enterprise has conducted pilot projects in 17 villages across 3 states- Karnataka, West Bengal and Telengana. Presently, Krishworks has 2 full-fledged centres in the Sunderbans area in West Bengal with a headcount of 85 children.
Thinking Social Seminar was held at SR Innovation Exchange, Warrangal on 16 November 2018. The speakers comprised of eminent social entrepreneurs, namely, Kalyan Sivasailam , Founder – 5C Networks, Dr. NSD Prasad Rao, Founder & CEO Ameya Life , Sanjay Kumar, Founder – Milletbowl, Kiran Vuppala, Founder – Cerelia Nutritech. The event witnessed around 100 attendees.
Health Trail: Health Trail, the power packed impact 3-month non-residential (with 10 contact days) programme aims to accelerate, nurture and invest in early stage healthcare start-ups. The selected cohort will be individually mentored by experts in the domain and will also leverage the wide network of IIM Calcutta Innovation Park. Intensive & interactive sessions will kick-start the journey of start-ups towards transforming present business models into investment-worthy propositions. The cohort will also get an opportunity to showcase their enterprises to a pool of dynamic investors on the Demo Day. Selected start-ups will be eligible for a seed investment of up to INR 50 lakhs, and an opportunity to be incubated at IIM Calcutta Innovation Park.
Shilpa Shibir: IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP) in association with the Directorate of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of West Bengal is conducting a 3-day residential program for the officers of the District Industries Centre and the Directorate of MSME at IIM Calcutta from 4-6 December, 2018.
Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2018-19: Tata Group in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Management (IIM Calcutta), announced the 7th edition of Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2018 to find India’s most promising early-stage social innovators.