The partnership aims to set global example by leveraging digital technology to reduce preventable deaths amongst mothers and children living in Aspirational Districts and tribal areas
Piramal Swasthya Management and Research Institute, the primary healthcare initiative of Piramal Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation recently announced a strategic partnership to align with and support the Government of India’s vision to ensure universal health coverage. In the initial stages, the partnership aims to set a global example by leveraging digital technology to reduce preventable deaths amongst mothers and children living in Aspirational Districts and tribal areas.
The Piramal Swasthya and Rockefeller teams will be working closely with the government on building cutting-edge primary health innovations and scaling them through policy interventions. The partnership will strengthen healthcare systems by integrating technologies such as artificial intelligence for evidence-based decision making. The idea is to save maternal and child deaths by providing appropriate and timely insights leading to effective policy making and implementation of focussed interventions.
The Piramal-Rockefeller partnership focusses on five of the 25 Aspirational Districts that are mentored by NITI Aayog. They are also part of the 117 Aspirational Districts identified by the Government of India as having urgent health and development needs. Many residents of these districts are members of tribal populations, who have significantly worse health outcomes than non-tribal populations. The maternal mortality rate in India is 122 deaths per 100,000 live births, while in the tribal communities it is even higher. Similarly, other health indicators such as infant mortality rates, child malnutrition rates, and incidence of malaria and tuberculosis are much higher among tribal communities than the general population.
At the outset, the Piramal-Rockefeller partnership will focus on two main streams of work:
- Develop and test novel approaches for using digital technology—including mobile communications, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning—to more efficiently and effectively deliver primary healthcare services to vulnerable people in their communities.
- Assess how vital information on community health needs can be better collected and analysed through digital tools, so that the government and others can make informed, real-time decisions about targeting health resources.
“We are delighted to partner with The Rockefeller Foundation to leverage our combined strengths and experiences and to co-create transformative solutions for equitable primary care health services in India. Health should be a right for everyone, not a privilege for some,” said Dr Swati Piramal, Vice Chairperson, Piramal Group, and Director, Piramal Swasthya. “India is at the cusp of a historic public health transformation, and we are hopeful that this partnership will accelerate government goals to democratise health across the country. Through this partnership, we are committed to building an evidence-based decision-making culture in the government’s primary healthcare ecosystem in India, and institutionalising it. Piramal Swasthya is also building a technology platform for primary care which is going to be a public good. The platform will help create better ways for the government health workers to make informed decisions when it comes to identifying issues in primary healthcare. The aim is to create a technology and evidence driven system as a public good in public primary healthcare which will help create better governance, accountability and knowledge repository.”
“Digital innovation offers tremendous promise to deliver quality healthcare to more people, especially the most vulnerable among our communities,” said Dr Rajiv J Shah, President, The Rockefeller Foundation. “By working with Piramal Swasthya, we aim to accelerate India’s commitment to using digital technology to promote health equity, which will serve as an exemplar for the world.”
The Piramal-Rockefeller partnership brings together two impact- and outcome-driven organisations with a robust history of collaboration with governments to strengthen public health programmes for vulnerable people. Both teams stand committed towards complementing and supplementing the Indian Government’s vision of universal health coverage. This partnership will work towards co-creating high impact solutions that will contribute significantly towards bringing a change in the space of primary public healthcare that India needs.