Rob Katz

P.K. Sethi, Inventor of Jaipur Foot, Remembered

P.K. SethiYesterday, as I rode the metro home from work, I browsed through the obituaries section, as is my daily habit.? While reading the newspaper, however, I came across a news obituary relevant to my work, and to I had not heard, but P.K. Sethi – an Indian surgeon and the mind behind Jaipur Foot – died January 6 of a heart attack.? To Sethi’s family go our condolences.

Some may be wondering why Sethi’s obituary is newsworthy on NextBillion.? For long-time BoP watchers, the answer is easy: Jaipur Foot.? The project, Sethi’s brainchild, was the subject of a 2003 case study by C.K. Prahalad and a team of University of Michigan MBA students.? In it, they described how Jaipur Foot

created a low-cost prosthesis that it fits on sixteen thousand patients annually, allowing their return to their chosen professions in the fields and cities without loss of income or productivity.

You can find the full case study at the old XMAP site, or read about it in the context of other world-class BoP healthcare models.If anything, we should celebrate Sethi as a pioneer – one who saw the BoP as a market worthy of high-quality innovation, service and attention.? He may belong in the same class as Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy – founder of Aravind Eye Hospital – whom we remembered similarly on this site back in August of 2006.