OPINION: Low-cost Innovation May Transform India’s Healthcare Industry
Friday, May 16, 2014
In the list of annual honours, released by the Indian government this year, you will find the name of Dr Balram Bhargava from the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He has been awarded the Padma Shri.
Every year, thousands of students aspiring for a career in medicine have AIIMS at the top of their priority list. Studying there is almost a sure-fire guarantee to a glittering career in medicine and often a pathway to the foreign shores.
However, Dr Bhargava and others are now focusing on the concept of frugal innovation (now the subject of academic books) and using it to create a new family of low-cost, high-impact medical devices right here in India.
In Dr Bhargava’s case, his team is developing a chest compression device that helps treat cases of sudden cardiac arrest. Funded by the Wellcome Trust of the UK, the device is currently in prototype stage. But given the increasing cost of production in the West, it is quite likely that mass-scale production (as and when it begins) will only start in countries like India and China.