This month’s Insights focuses on India, a front-running economic powerhouse that is of strategic importance to many GBCHealth members. The country has made significant gains in many areas of health and development but is not on track to meet critical global targets for preventing maternal and child deaths and for improving basic sanitation. And non-communicable diseases are a growing threat with skyrocketing rates of diabetes and heart disease.
This issue features a Q&A with Hindustan Unilever’s CEO Nitin Paranjpe about the company’s efforts in hygiene and safe drinking water and a bold plan from Leith Greenslade, co-chair of the Child Health Pillar of the MDG Health Alliance, on how to best target child deaths in India. The newsletter also provides insights on India’s new legislation mandating large companies to contribute to corporate social responsibility programs.
We invite companies with interests in India to join us in Mumbai on November 13th for GBCHealth’s first event in India, Reaching the Health Millennium Development Goals: The Critical Role of India’s Business Sector. The day will focus on maternal and child health and water, sanitation and hygiene issues and opportunities for business to invest in areas where progress is most needed. We hope to see you next month in Mumbai!
Q&A With Nitin Paranjpe, CEO of Hindustan Unilever, on Company’s Health Work in India
As one of the largest companies in India, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) is committing its expertise and resources to building a healthier India on an unprecedented level. We spoke with Hindustan Unilever’s CEO, Nitin Paranjpe, about HUL’s efforts to promote hand washing and safe drinking water in India.
In November of 2010, Unilever launched its Sustainable Living Plan which aims to improve hygiene and healthy living, as well as to decrease the environmental impact of its products. Unilever uses its marketing expertise and brands to reduce millions of preventable deaths from poor hygiene and sanitation and the lack of safe drinking water.
Its Lifebuoy brand promotes the benefits of hand washing with soap and aims to change the hygiene behavior of 1 billion consumers across Asia, Africa and Latin America by 2015. As a supporter of UNICEF’s Community Approaches to Total Sanitation program, Unilever’s leading toilet brands help educate consumers about sanitation and hygiene through their marketing campaigns. And Unilever’s Water Works program, in partnership with the international NGO PSI, works to bring safe, clean drinking water to communities in the hopes of decreasing deaths due to waterborne disease such as diarrhea, a leading killer of children.
Mr. Paranjpe, what do you see as the most pressing challenges for India’s public health?
The health sector for any country poses unique challenges. This is so even for rich nations, and we have heard about the complex issues in some of the developed nations as well. The health sector in India naturally has multiple challenges. These include maternal and child health and preventable diseases such as diarrhea. These have been our focus because of our rich work and experience in this area and our unique ability to make a contribution based on our core business activities. This is not to suggest that this is the only issue. There are many other challenges our health sector faces.
What is your vision for India in terms of health and development over the next decade?
The vision can only be affordable health care for all, with a focus on disease prevention and a promotion of habits that help improve health and well-being.
What is the role of private sector in building a healthier India?
The private sector must complement the efforts of the government. It can play a huge part in communicating important, clear and unambiguous messaging on key health issues such as preventable diseases like diarrhea.
Read full Q & A»
Do 600,000 Mothers Hold the Key to Reducing Child Deaths in India? And How Can Business Help Them?
Leith Greenslade, Co-Chair, Child Health, MDG Health Alliance
One in every five deaths of children under age 5 occurs in India.
India loses more children under 5 than any other country – an estimated 1,414,000 in 2012.
The causes are well known. The location is also well known. Sixty percent of all child deaths occur in just four large northern States in India – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
What is less well known is that these deaths are not randomly distributed. A large body of literature shows that a small minority of mothers experience the majority of child deaths.
In a landmark study in rural Punjab, Monica Das Gupta found that 13 percent of mothers accounted for 62 percent of all child deaths. With so many of these mothers experiencing more than two child deaths, she called this phenomenon “the death clustering effect.” Other studies have documented a similar pattern in countries in Africa, Latin America and South Asia.
Das Gupta argued that mothers were more likely to suffer multiple child deaths if they were constrained in their abilities to care for their children due to ill-health, economic stress, lack of childcare, a large number of children, family violence, low levels of household autonomy or limited mobility.
India needs to prevent the deaths of 1 million children by 2015 to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4, which calls for reducing by two-thirds the under-5 child death rate globally.
If the literature on child death clustering is right, those 1 million children in India may belong to just 600,000 mothers.
With about 800 days to achieve MDG 4, what if the health and development community joined forces with the business community in India to put extra focus on those mothers? What if we decided that identifying them and surrounding them with the intensive support they need to raise healthy children is the best strategy for India to achieve its child survival goals?
The 600,000 mothers in India most at risk of suffering the loss of children over the next two years deserve our attention now. The fate of 1 million children may rest in their hands.
Read more »
GBCHealth to Hold Business and Health Event in Mumbai
November 13, 2013 | Mumbai, India
Companies with interests in India are invited to attend the event, Reaching the Health Millennium Development Goals: The Critical Role of India’s Business Sector, on November 13th, 2013, at the Trident Hotel, Nariman Point, Mumbai, India.
The event will highlight maternal health, child health and water, sanitation and hygiene issues and the opportunities for business to invest in the areas where progress is most needed. Over 25 high-level business, government and health leaders will speak, including the CEOs of Britannia and Nestle India, the heads of UNICEF India and World Bank India and many more.
With about 800 days remaining to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the world is focused on India. The global economic powerhouse was an early achiever in three MDGs, making great gains in education, HIV and tuberculosis and in increasing access to safe drinking water. However, the pace of change in preventing maternal and child deaths and improving basic sanitation has been too slow to meet critical targets. Success in accelerating change and achieving the health MDGs will depend on the degree to which India’s business community engages and focuses its efforts where needed most.
The event is organized by GBCHealth in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Reliance Foundation, the International Center for Research on Women, the American India Foundation, the UN Foundation and the MDG Health Alliance.
Learn more »
India Mandates Corporate Social Responsibility: The 2 Percent Bill
Joya Banerjee, Manager, Membership and Advisory Services, GBCHealth
In August, the government of India passed controversial legislation that requires large companies to spend at least 2 percent of their profits every year on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The bill applies to companies with an average annual net profit of at least 50 million rupees (approximately $816,000 USD) over the last three years.
Companies will be able to develop their own social investment strategies and decide where to invest and implement programs, but the government has recommended particular areas of need, including eradicating hunger and poverty, maternal and child health, HIV, TB and malaria, promoting gender equality and environmental sustainability. Companies should give preference to the local areas where they operate. If a company does not conduct its own CSR, it can give the required amount to the government’s socio-economic welfare programs such as the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.
Read more about how this new legislation will affect businesses in India »
Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI) Saves Newborns and Mothers in Rural India
Mugdha Gangopadhyay, Development Officer, American India Foundation
Despite India’s rapid economic growth over the last decade, the nation has the highest number of newborn, child and maternal deaths in the world. The rural and tribal areas are most at risk because of low access to quality health care services. But a program in one high burden area is making a difference and saving lives.
In 2009, the American India Foundation (AIF) launched the Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI), a public-private partnership designed to reduce maternal and child deaths in northern India through local health system improvements and expanded health access in the Seraikela block of Seraikela-Kharsawan district in Jharkhand— home to one of the highest rates of maternal and child mortality. The core of the MANSI model is local female community health workers, or Sahiyyas, who are trained in proven, low-cost, low-technology interventions to save mothers and newborns during pregnancy, at birth and immediately after birth.
As of March 2013, MANSI has served 11,532 women and 11,428 infants and children under 5 years of age. The program has reduced the neonatal death rate by 20 percent and stillbirth rate by 16 percent in the area, according to our statistics. Additionally, MANSI has increased the rate of babies delivered in health facilities. Based on MANSI’s success, AIF is planning to scale-up the program in additional locations throughout the country with existing and new partners.
Read more about the program by AIF, a partner in GBCHealth’s India forum on Nov. 13, 2013 in Mumbai »
Corporate Case Studies in India
Novartis Arogya Parivar
Novartis’ award-winning Arogya Parivar (“Healthy Family”) social business improves healthcare access to those living at the bottom of the economic pyramid in rural India. Learn more.
Hewlett-Packard eHealth Center
Hewlett-Packard (HP) has developed and tested the eHealth Center, which is designed to address significant urban-rural gaps in access to quality care in India. Learn more.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson has partnered with leading international development organizations — Microcredit Summit Campaign and Freedom from Hunger — to implement an integrated health and microfinance solution that addresses the link between poverty and poor maternal and child health. Learn more.
Dimagi CommCare ASHA
In response to challenges facing the Indian government in training Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), Dimagi developed CommCare, an open-source, cloud-based platform that is accessed through inexpensive cell phones. It provides ASHAs with services such as client management, guided clinical protocols and remote training, all supported by multimedia (video, image, audio). Learn more.