ET Burea Dec 17, 2019, 02.13 PM IST

Piramal Swasthya Management and Research Institute, the primary healthcare initiative of Piramal Foundation joined hands with New-York based Rockefeller Foundation to strengthen maternal and child health in the aspirational districts of India thereby improving the country’s health index.

Committed to invest about 1 million US dollars to be able to bring-in insights, the Rockfeller foundation aims to work with Piramal by leveraging digital technology to reduce preventable deaths amongst mothers and children.

25 aspirational districts in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh have been shortlisted where the work has already started. These districts are among the 117 aspirational Districts identified by the government’s think tank Niti Aayog Government of India as having urgent health and development needs.

“We have signed a MOU to leverage combined strength and experiences to co-create transformative solutions for equitable health services in India. The main thing that we are trying to do is use Artificial Intelligence (AI) for improving public health care outcomes,” said Swati Piramal.

SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, the SDGs are intended to be achieved by 2030. “Piramal and Rockfeller partnership brings together two outcome driven organisation with a robust history of collaboration with the government. Anything we do has to be with the govt to strengthen public health prog for vulnerable people," added Swati Piramal.

In the initial stages, the Piramal Swasthya and Rockefeller teams will be working closely with the government on building cutting-edge primary health innovations and scaling them through policy interventions. The partnership will strengthen healthcare systems by integrating technologies such as artificial intelligence for evidence-based decision making. The idea is to save maternal and child deaths by providing appropriate and timely insights leading to effective policy making and implementation of focused interventions.

“What we are embarking on is building on the backbone of the country’s platforms which are National in scale. So if we ensure that our interventions actually can save lives we believe this can be scaled rapidly throughout the country. We are actually adding insights to the system that already exists so it could be scaled all over the country very soon,” said Naveen Rao, MD, Rockfeller foundation.

The maternal mortality rate in India is 122 deaths per 100,000 live births, while in the tribal communities it is even higher. Similarly, other health indicators such as infant mortality rates, child malnutrition rates, and incidence of malaria and tuberculosis are much higher among tribal communities than the general population.