A critical feature of any resilient system, especially in our economies and communities, is a healthy and productive workforce. However, the world today faces a looming burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which directly hampers productivity and claims over 63% of all deaths. Once considered as ‘diseases of affluence’, NCDs are now imposing a hefty burden on developing countries like India. By 2030, NCDs will cost India over US$ 4.6 trillion, posing a threat to economic growth and development.
The good news is that – NCDs are preventable. Early diagnosis and treatment of NCDs in children can potentially reduce the prevalence and long-term costs associated with the diseases. Early diagnosis can be a beneficial prevention method both from an economic and healthcare perspective as it saves healthcare related costs while providing individuals and institutions with the knowledge to take corrective healthcare measures. However, in countries like India, there are very few effective public health and school health programs targeted at children; and the overall early diagnostic and preventive healthcare systems are weak and unaffordable for the masses.
Aimed at addressing these challenges and a long term vision of creating a healthy and productive future workforce for India, Dr. N.S. D Prasad and Dr. N. Pranav set out to establish Ameya Life. Key to reducing the prevalence of NCDs is shifting the culture from a reactive to proactive one. “Health is often viewed as an event in our country where a person seeks treatment only after they have fallen sick,” Dr. Pranav said. “Along with closing the services gap, it is necessary that we inculcate a culture of prevention.”
Ameya Life is a Social Enterprise (SE) based in Hyderabad, India which provides accessible and affordable preventive healthcare services to school-going children through structured school health programs. Unique to the school health programs is the comprehensive health screening, health education, and follow up mechanism for every student. Through the assessment camp, Ameya Life screens students for a variety of NCDs at once, making the service significantly more affordable. The company ensures appropriate follow-up communication and referrals for treatment with parents of students who a diagnosed with any ailments. In addition to this, Ameya Life maintains electronic health records for each student that provide useful information for parents and medical professionals in addressing each child’s healthcare needs.
Ameya Life will provide services to 36,800 students in 63 schools across Hyderabad in the upcoming year. With a desire to magnify and deepen the extent of their impact, Dr. N. S. D Prasad and Dr. N. Pranav have participated in Shujog’s Assistance for Capacity-building and Technical Services (ACTS) program. Through ACTS, Ameya Life is receiving a host of technical services including business advisory, impact assessment, and assistance for capital-raising. Ameya Life plans to scale its operations and impact by expanding to Bangalore in India once they raise the required investment capital.
IIX and Shujog have spent a lot of time with the Ameya Life team and left inspired by Dr. Prasad and Dr. Pranav’s passion and commitment to the cause, which has borne immediate and visible results. “Our motivation is the improvement we see in the students. For example, a boy was diagnosed with borderline obesity last year. He was advised to take appropriate dietary measures and engage in physical activity. When we screened him again this year, while the visible change was small, the boy was very proud that he is now eating healthy and has lost some weight. In another instance, a girl suffered six-seven asthma attacks every year. After the school health screening and education programs, the incidence of asthma attacks has reduced to one-two a year. This change is what drives our work every day,” said Dr. Prasad and Dr. Pranav.
Ameya Life is a game-changer for diagnostic services and preventive healthcare in India. Early detection and treatment, coupled with continuous health education, has the potential to produce tremendous impact on students and their parents. Ameya Life’s intervention increases life expectancy by curbing the long-term risks associated with NCDs of its beneficiaries, while improving the overall wellbeing and quality of life. At IIX and Shujog, we are excited to be able to work with Ameya Life to expand its exceptional work in creating healthy and productive future workforce, thereby building a resilient India.
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