When I started university after Pestalozzi, my long-term vision was always to return home. My two and a half years at Rolls Royce Motor Cars, while pursuing my Masters at the University of Brighton, added immense experience when it came to planning for my future career. After getting a first-class degree at the University of Brighton, I returned to India. I started my career as a policy researcher in the field of energy with Brookings India. During three years in this post I worked on topics like renewables, coal and power and how India should plan to reduce pollution, have better planning when it comes to usage of coal for power production, and how to improve utilisation of by-products of power generation from burning coal.
It was not long before I realised that I needed to do more, more impactful work to improve the life of people. During one of the visits to my village, I heard about a baby born in a local hospital. His intestine was outside his body at the time of birth. I further enquired about him and realised, due to lack of an expert in the locality he stayed like that for two days. I tried to make calls to some paediatricians at a nearby medical college, but it was too late. The baby, who could have been treated by medical procedures passed away due to external infections.
Pondering on how to solve the challenges of the health sector of India, I founded my start-up, MeListo, an online healthcare service, which has functions such as medical history, remote expert access and remote appointments. This happened as a parallel activity to my work as a researcher. The challenges to improve and adapt the service were more numerous than I anticipated. My team moved on and running the operation with the intended impact on my own was not easy. However, it did give me deep insights into the health sector of India and the opportunity to see possibilities where we as a society need to work together so everyone has access to better healthcare.
Over the last year I have been working on innovation strategy for one of the world’s largest government-run health insurance programmes, “Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PM-JAY)”. Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) is the flagship healthcare scheme of the Government of India which aims to improve access, quality, and affordability of healthcare. Deemed as the world’s largest publicly funded healthcare scheme, it provides financial protection of ₹5 Million (approx. £5400) per family per year covering more than 500 million poor and vulnerable people for secondary and tertiary treatment.
As a team of three, we are mandated to lead the creation and implementation of the strategy to facilitate a robust innovation ecosystem to bring much-needed innovations to the healthcare system to improve quality and affordability. The Indian health sector needs an overhaul and I am very hopeful that through my current efforts I will be able to give something back to society. With each step I want to move towards improving the lives of others and this work has provided me with a platform and a way to look forward in doing work which affects the everyday lives of people who require the most support.
Through my work I really hope to keep the motto of Pestalozzi alive, “influence and educate through the Head, Heart and Hands”.