The Indian healthcare system suffers from a chronic condition of irregularities and contrast. On-one-hand big cities in India have emerged as medical tourism hotspots with multi-specialty hospitals and internationally acclaimed doctors. On the flip side, the rural population suffers from inadequate primary healthcare facilities, quality services, and poor availability of human resources.
Many organizations, both from the private and non-profit sectors, are trying to eliminate this tyranny of inadequacy.
WISH (Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare), the flagship program of Lords Education & Health Society (LEHS), is one name that stands above the rest.
Featuring in The Enterprise World’s issue on Top 5 Leaders in Healthcare To Watch is Mr. Rajesh Ranjan Singh, a man committed to transforming primary healthcare through innovations.
An Unmatched Leadership
A social entrepreneur and a specialist in civic participation, public health, and the non-profit sector, Rajesh Ranjan Singh has nearly three decades of experience. His deep understanding of community processes, health system strengthening, government engagement, and participation across Asia and Africa enables him to manage large and complex international development programs. He has been part of multiple national core committees for developing strategic guidelines and frameworks on public health issues. Currently, he is heading WISH (Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare) as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Primary healthcare is a vital aspect of national health strategy. Over the period, the Indian government has prioritized primary healthcare as an area for core investment, helping to improve the accessibility to the last mile population.
It is no secret that primary healthcare caters to 80 to 90 percent of human healthcare needs, reducing the burden on secondary and tertiary care hospitals.
Considering the vast network and reach of primary care facilities in India, improving the primary healthcare centers around the three A’s (availability, affordability, and accessibility) with the help of med-tech innovations could bring about a sea change in the Indian public health system. With this vision, WISH was formally launched in 2014 to build an equitable, innovation-led healthcare ecosystem to make quality healthcare services available, accessible and affordable for all Indian citizens.
To realize its vision, we initially partnered with the state government of Rajasthan. Gradually, this partnership extended to the states of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, and Uttar Pradesh. To address the healthcare needs, Med-tech-enabled primary care models got developed and implemented for the rural and urban populations. Over the years, WISH interventions in these states have evolved from implementation to advisory and techno-managerial support for facility operations, healthcare innovations, capacity building, data aggregation, and analytics.
Our vision is to provide a fully operational healthcare delivery system through innovation and technology that complies with all quality standards. The organization is built around the core values of Compassion, Respect, Innovation, Speed, and Perseverance (CRISP), contributing to improved health outcomes, thereby reducing out-of-pocket expenses (OOPEs) of the beneficiaries.
We believe that systemic reforms will have a ripple effect from individuals to the community. WISH has successfully and effectively forged Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) with various state governments, the private sector, innovators, and civil societies, who constitute the healthcare ecosystem.
Through such partnerships, we bring financial and technical resources together to value add to the state’s public health system by integrating promising healthcare innovations. The success and sustainability of the WISH healthcare delivery model rest on government partnerships in the intervention states. It works in alignment with the healthcare priorities of the government to transform the healthcare system at the state level.
Their Products and Services
Given our commitment to support the government’s healthcare priorities, we deploy customized models, for example, WISH works with the Government of Rajasthan to strengthen the primary healthcare system in both rural and urban areas; and we provide techno-managerial support to the Government of Delhi to manage Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics (AAMCs). Similarly, WISH extends advisory services to Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Assam on primary health, digital monitoring of data, and capacity building of the stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem.
WISH is supporting National Health Authority (NHA) to set up and operationalize the National Health Authority Innovation Unit (NIU) and pioneer the rollout of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PM-JAY). Based on extensive primary and secondary research, the NIU has designed and developed the Market Access Program (MAP) to support high-potential, market-ready innovations with a set of systematic offerings geared toward adoption by the PM-JAY ecosystem. In the WISH intervention states, we have partnered with State Health Authorities (SHAs) to set up State Health Innovation Units (SHIUs).
Our effort was acknowledged and rewarded on the occasion of the first anniversary of PMJAY in October 2019. The National Health Authority (NHA) organized Ayushman Bharat Aarogya Manthan presided over by our Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, and inaugurated by the Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan. WISH demonstrated its Swasthya ATM model that provides an end-to-end inclusive gamut of care solutions to the last mile population. The model was awarded the Best Start-up Innovation in Healthcare.
“We take a holistic approach to make quality primary healthcare available and accessible to underserved populations. Our models are unique and informed by our on-ground experience and knowledge.
Factors that Set WISH Apart
Strategic Multi-Stakeholder Alliances:
To form formal partnerships, we collaborate with the government and private sector, entrepreneurs, innovators, and philanthropists to leverage the infrastructure, reach, resources, and experience.
Identify and Scale Innovations:
The organization identifies and leverages the most promising innovations and innovators in the primary healthcare field; demonstrates the impact of their innovations utilizing the WISH-operated public health centers as ‘social labs,’ and scales successful innovations within the public health system. It develops knowledge hubs to showcase and share ideas, address barriers to scale, facilitate knowledge sharing and connect innovators with potential investors.
Supporting free primary care to underserved communities is achieved through a combination of cost-reducing technologies, increased efficiency and economies of scale, and better systems for accountability and governance.
Sustainability and Scalability:
WISH creates processes that ensure long-term success through monitoring, evaluation, and cost reductions. MoUs with State Governments ensure that their health priorities are maintained, and successful models are embedded and scaled by the respective governments.
Since its inception, WISH has directly served 15 million patients and the vulnerable population in rural and urban India. In its advisory role, the organization has enabled over forty-four million people to access quality primary healthcare services in its intervention states. Its ultimate goal is to reach the most underserved populations in the developing world with cutting-edge, technology-enabled primary healthcare solutions within the next five years.
“Innovation is the thread that binds our thinking and philosophy.”