Business Today 14th January 2018 - Page 69

largest employers in the country, especially of skilled labour, and has proven to be an engine of economic growth – which our government should be proud of. T here is even greater potential for improve- ment. Despite all this progress, we still have an acute shortage of hospital beds in our country. To adequately serve the healthcare demand, we need double the number of doctors, treble the number of nurses, and quadruple the number of paramedics. With job creation being at the top of our economic agenda now, healthcare as a sector has a lot to offer our country, which is expected to be home to nearly one-third of the world’s workforce by 2028. In healthcare, we are constantly pushing the boundaries – by sharing and collaborating to im- prove patient experience, transforming care deliv- ery through telemedicine and optimised protocols, digitalising and democratising health through mo- bile solutions and telemedicine, and working with Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to develop India- specific patterns for disease detection and cure. But against all this, there is severe cause for con- cern too. While we can take great pride in the fact that no Indian needs to travel abroad for treatment, and conversely, patients from over 120 countries visit India for medical treatment, there is an urgent need to pay close attention to the tsunami that is soon go- ing to engulf us – the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs are responsible for two-thirds of total morbidity and about 53 per cent of total deaths in India. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2030, over 36 million deaths will be caused by NCDs alone, and the economic cost of this will be $5 trillion for India alone – over 50 per cent of In- dia’s GDP. Most worryingly, NCDs affect the most productive age group. We need to pull ourselves up and come together with a sense of urgency and pur- pose. Apollo Hospitals has already embarked on this journey – for example, by providing extensive awareness of the importance of early screening and detection through our Healthy Heart programme, as well as providing guidance on prevention and reversal of disease. I sincerely believe that this is a time for all stakeholders to act with greater imme- diacy and trust. It is a time for the 4 Ps – Public-Pri- vate-People Participation – to come into play at the earliest. I have made this my mission. True to my credo, I am still working on living up to providing what the citizens of India deserve – long, healthy, pro- ductive lives, free of disease. I urge you all to join this mission against NCDs, a mission to promote happiness and well-being.