How social entrepreneurship can play a role in augmenting India’s healthcare infrastructure?

social entrepreneurship can have a deep positive impact on our country’s healthcare system

February 03, 2022 11:09 IST | India Infoline News Service
Social entrepreneurship is a new, emerging business model that strives to create a true impact in the society while also making financial gains. Social entrepreneurs are motivated by the prospects of having an opportunity to empower the disadvantaged and the rise of social entrepreneurship is definitely a good sign in today’s day and age. As the pandemic came like a sudden jolt for countries worldwide, the values of unity, compassion and togetherness helped sail through a crisis that crippled human lives in ways unimaginable. It’s no surprise that millennials and new age entrepreneurs today are drawn to the idea of social entrepreneurship as they now have a first hand experience of what it means to give back to society.

The healthcare system was already struggling before the pandemic but Covid just crippled it  and pushed all those pain points to the forefront. The rural healthcare infrastructure isn’t equipped enough even at the best of times. But fortunately, several individuals and organizations stepped forward to minimize the effects of the crisis and social entrepreneurship emerged as an answer for those who wanted to continue serving the society while also making a living. Going forward, social entrepreneurship can have a deep positive impact on our country’s healthcare system. Let’s explore the different ways in which social entrepreneurship could uplift our healthcare infrastructure moving forward.

1. Devise solutions based on detailed research
Social entrepreneurs, with the newest technology and digital tools coupled with an innovative mindset, can implement transformative solutions at the grassroots level. While it’s true that several organizations are actively catering to the underserved communities as a part of their CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities, the coverage is limited and rural areas are often left out. Social entrepreneurs are driven by a mission to live life on purpose and their activities are centred on outcomes of detailed research that give insights into the real inadequacies of the healthcare system. Social and cultural awareness is of utmost importance when creating health awareness in a complex country like India where superstitions, traditions and beliefs all play a major role. Launching healthcare initiatives based on cold stats isn’t of much use and social entrepreneurs can bridge the gap by conducting studies at the grassroots level and addressing the real pain points that deny access to healthcare for rural communities.

2. A focus on long-term, sustainable impact on healthcare infrastructure
While metro cities may boast of best-in-class healthcare facilities, the country’s healthcare system in the outskirts of the city is bereft of basic infrastructure. Social entrepreneurship could bridge the gap between urban and rural healthcare systems with a focus on long-term, sustainable impact. What we need right now is not healthcare initiatives solely designed to cater to pandemic situations such as the COVID-19. We need a solution that lasts beyond COVID-19 and equips the healthcare system in general to effectively deal with the day-to-day healthcare needs during normal times. Since social entrepreneurship has service to society as its primary motive, it could channel capital to strengthen our three-tier healthcare system. Armed with resources and entrepreneurial vision, social enterprises can be critical in deploying trained healthcare personnel and making healthcare affordable and accessible in regions where healthcare facilities are already highly stretched.

3. Collaborations with local partners
Partnerships with local NGOs and local communities can be critical in the successful launch of community healthcare projects. In a country deeply rooted in social and moral values, collaborations with local partners can be immensely beneficial in understanding the society from a broader perspective. Roping in local partners can accelerate the implementation of healthcare initiatives since support from local communities is always critical for smooth execution of any project. Plus, local collaborations can help social entrepreneurs to quickly identify opportunities and harness resources in the most optimum manner. Such partnerships give rich insights into the existing state of health so social enterprises can mobilize scarce resources with enhanced effectiveness.

4. Bridge administrative gaps to complement the public health system
While the government has come up with a slew of measures to augment the healthcare infrastructure, how much of it actually benefits the public still remains a question. India can claim to have a self-sufficient healthcare system only if its services benefit everyone equally. There is a wide demand-supply gap not because the government isn’t doing enough but due to a dearth of manpower and other resources to actually implement the policies. Social enterprises can come forward to bridge the demand-supply gap by helping the government materialize its long-pending healthcare policies and ensure widespread accessibility. Driven by key skill sets, social enterprises can utilize resources in innovative ways and partner with governments to strengthen the under-resourced public health systems.

Healthcare isn’t a luxury that we can choose to live without; it’s a basic necessity. Unfortunately, India is still grappling with poor healthcare systems but on the brighter side social enterprises can be an answer to several pressing healthcare problems. Going forward, we can pin our hopes on social enterprises to augment the healthcare infrastructure with their entrepreneurial mindset and innovation to a significant extent.

The author of this article is Mr. Maanoj Shah, CO-Founder, Mission ICU
The views and opinions expressed are not of IIFL Securities, indiainfoline.com

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