On the eve of World Health Day, global healthcare consultant Vijay Dhawangale proposes a revolutionary Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, which aims at easing the burden of disease on citizens, by offering them free-of-cost diagnostic services through public health facilities in their respective countries.
Mounting expenses due to increasing costs of diagnostic services further compounded by limited availability, especially in remote regions, puts a tremendous burden on patients especially those belonging to lower socio-economic sections.
“In the absence of accurate diagnostic reports, physicians in many parts of the world are unable to offer effective prognosis and care. Patients often have to shell out additional money to access diagnostic services which may be even more expensive than the cost of medicines themselves,” says Vijay Dhawangale, referring to the dearth of qualitative diagnostic facilities.
Dhawangale proposes a PPP model – Healthcare Diagnostics Programs, involving nuanced strategies for local and state level implementation, overseen by a central agency designated by governments.
The initiative envisions providing a package of essential diagnostic services free-of-cost across all public health facilities, using innovative, low-cost technology. As per the proposed model, the government’s role can be limited to enabling these diagnostic laboratories to be set up, while the responsibility of providing quality diagnostics would lie with the relevant laboratory partners.
Dhawangale has also piloted a PPP healthcare project by setting up more than 200 diagnostic laboratories across five states in India, spanning both private and public sectors.
Over 10 million citizens in remote locations across India are supposed to have availed free diagnostic services from these labs, which are attached to over 3,000 government hospitals. He believes that this model has the potential for being scaled and implemented as nationwide programs in various countries all over the world.
“Various studies have demonstrated that over 10 percent of annual income in Indian households is spent on privately provided healthcare. Whether it is due to lack of public facilities or access to them, this amount is significant especially for households already on the brink of poverty. The Healthcare Diagnostic Programs can be aimed at making quality diagnostic healthcare facilities available to all, to improve quality of life and provide timely facilities,” remarks Dhawangale.
In India, specifically, the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing. While in many developed countries, NCDs are typically seen in individuals aged 55 years or older, they occur in India at least a decade earlier. Further, due to lack of awareness and limited access to healthcare facilities, the majority of these chronic conditions remain undiagnosed.
Availability and access to quality diagnostic facilities, as proposed by the Healthcare Diagnostic Programs, can enable detection of risks and diseases at early stages, and positively impact disease management while reducing associated costs.
Apart from reducing the burden on citizens, the model can also ensure that governments can focus on providing the right financial support and environment for the implementation of such a scheme, without having to set up and maintain infrastructure, human resources and consumables, which can be managed by the laboratory partners with efficiency.
This World Health Day, let us vow to focus on preventing diseases and managing them well, by providing access to quality healthcare for all.
Who is Vijay Dhawangale?
Vijay Dhawangale is a venture capitalist and a global healthcare consultant, having dabbled in various entrepreneurial ventures across domains and industries. As a champion of quality healthcare for all, Dhawangale passionately voices his perspectives on how it can be made accessible to all.
He has piloted a PPP healthcare project by setting up over 200 diagnostic laboratories across five states in India, spanning both private and public sectors. Over 10 million citizens in remote locations across India are supposed to have availed free diagnostic services from these labs, which are attached to over 3,000 government hospitals.
Dhawangale was also instrumental in setting up more than 15 COVID testing labs in key locations across the country, during the peak of the pandemic, to aid accurate and accelerated testing.