Can CSR Funds Make a Difference in Healthcare?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The statistics tell a grim story.

India carries 20% of the world’s disease burden, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). About 75% of deaths globally are caused by communicable diseases, of which India accounts for 17%. A report published in May by British charity Oxfam says India records the highest number of maternal deaths in the world.

Yet, India also is the third largest manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India’s monthly internal report for June, has the largest number of medical schools globally (381) and produces the most medical graduates each year (50,000).

The reason for the dichotomy is simple: India lacks the financial resources required to reinforce its deficient healthcare infrastructure and improve its health indicators.

Healthcare programmes are funded by government budgets, international aid and charitable organizations, but the money isn’t quite enough for a country of 1.25 billion people, two-thirds of whom live in the countryside, where the supply of medical care and the ability to pay for services is limited.

“India spends only 5% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health, of which government’s share is only 1.4%,” said Charu Sehgal, senior director at consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt. Ltd. “It is among the lowest in the world. And this low percentile automatically translates into inadequate infrastructure, limited medical technology as well as inadequate human resources in the healthcare continuum.”

With government finances under pressure, requiring a tight rein on spending, and organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation increasingly channelling aid in the form of technical support rather than cash, can companies step in with corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds to fill the breach?

Source: Livemint (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
corporate social responsibility