Given the recent healthcare crisis during the pandemic, upgrading the healthcare infrastructure and technology has become imperative. Cracks in the structure have become more prominent and Corporates, NGOs and the government must join hands to fix the gaps.
CSR, in this regard, plays a crucial role in aiding the ailing healthcare infrastructure, and care must be taken to ensure its optimised utilisation.
In India, only 5% of the GDP is allocated to healthcare, which requires constant efforts and focused interventions to create impactful and long-lasting healthcare infrastructure. CSR in healthcare is vital to its progress and sustainability, and companies must strive to create models for the same.
Sustainable healthcare infrastructure is required to provide accessible and affordable healthcare to all. Some areas where healthcare requires aid are:
1. Lack of funding:
Given the low percentage of funds allocated to healthcare, funding is an issue preventing sustainable maintenance and upgrade of healthcare infrastructure and equipment in India. Human resources, awareness campaigns, and technological innovation suffer as a result.
2. Human resources:
Lack of trained professionals, especially in remote and rural parts of the country, result in a lack of appropriate healthcare interventions for all. Proper facilities in medical universities also contribute to gaps in training for young doctors who cannot seek out practical utilisation of machinery and tools.
Engaging with the masses to raise awareness about preventative healthcare also requires more resources. It is imperative to understand the importance of sanitation and the different kinds of diseases and their available treatments. Following proper nutritive and sanitary practices can reduce the stress on the infrastructure and contribute towards a healthier lifestyle for all.
4. Access to healthcare:
From proximity to hospitals to having the right equipment for medical diagnoses and treatments, many holes must be plugged. Many rural areas require travelling through rough roads or long routes to access medical facilities. Other areas lack proper equipment, electricity, or trained professionals. These require long-term interventions to help the effective dispensation of healthcare.
So, how can corporations contribute to CSR in the healthcare sector?
Private-Public partnerships and collaborations with NGOs can help fill some structural gaps. By understanding the government schemes and the role of NGOs, corporates can identify key areas where their specialisation can help alleviate the infrastructure. This can provide more focused interventions and lead to fruitful collaborations.
2. Building infrastructure:
Aiding rural and urban healthcare infrastructure funding is another avenue. Building accessibility to healthcare institutions in rural areas and upgrading technology and equipment are important for providing healthcare access. CSR funding can benefit new set-ups in remote locations.
3. Supporting existing infrastructure and initiatives:
Many structures in rural and urban areas are struggling due to a lack of resources. These places require financial aid to run smoothly and provide basic healthcare facilities. Furthermore, many healthcare initiatives to discover and innovate in the healthcare sector also suffer from a lack of funding. Identifying and funding these initiatives can also lead to breakthroughs in healthcare and new developments for affordable, accessible, and accountable healthcare practices.
4. Investing in educational programs:
For the masses, raising healthcare and sanitation awareness is important to aid the healthcare infrastructure. This knowledge arms the people to seek the right resources and helps prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Furthermore, training programs for young doctors or medical students, as well as providing equipment for training in medical colleges, can raise a team of remarkable professionals. This helps build a long-lasting impact in healthcare facilities where innovations and healthcare quality can expand and improve.
While these are important areas where CSR funds can be allocated and utilised, corporates must also be mindful of optimising the funds and creating a sustainable impact. To ensure this, using tools to better understand collaborations, the requirements of the community, and fund utilisation is required. Few simple steps that can help in this process:
Also known as a needs assessment study, it is a way to ascertain the community’s geography and requirement. With data-driven reports, experts at SoulAce study the community’s demographic index, existing government schemes, socioeconomic background, and expectations. This helps identify the key issues and chart design interventions tailor-made for the community’s needs. It helps in a more focused allocation of funds in the desired sector and addresses the root of the issues. This results in realistic goals that are sustainable and long-lasting.
SoulAce’s Fund Utilisation Audits are geared towards ensuring transparency, accountability, and optimisation. The experts first check compliance with regulations and company vision. Then, they ensure partner accountability by thoroughly evaluating the partner NGO or Foundation’s records and visions. This also allows for understanding whether the collaborators’ visions and long-term goals are aligned. Finally, a detailed report includes the best course for fund utilisation and recommendations for improvement.