In the last few years, the healthcare sector has witnessed astonishing advancements. Healthcare research has been a major sector that has boomed due to philanthropic efforts. In 2019, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM) organised an event in Lyon. France, where $14 billion was secured to fight these three deadly diseases. It was reported that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offered $760 million. Unfortunately, no Indian philanthropist contributed to the cause in a private capacity, despite India boasting 82 billionaires. But it would be unfortunate to judge every Indian philanthropist based on this data. There are several other philanthropists like Tej Kohli, Azim Premji, and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, to name a few, who have been contributing steadily to the healthcare sector.
Why does philanthropy in the healthcare sector matter?
Donations to hospitals and research play an immense role in getting the necessary equipment to improve patient outcomes. At the core of healthcare philanthropy is an act of humanitarian giving with the intention of strengthening the recipient. Typically, philanthropy in healthcare can be disruptive in three formats:
- Transforming the policy environment
In many developing countries, the healthcare sector has been accorded low priority in the political environment. It has resulted in public health expenditures failing to meet the needs of the people. But with philanthropists and private companies backing the government in healthcare, the chances of changing the policy and the healthcare environment are better.
- Enable better research outcomes
The investment made by philanthropists opens new avenues for conducting research that can provide healthcare resources at a minimum cost. For instance, the philanthropic work done by entrepreneur enthusiast Mr. Tej Kohli on conducting cataract surgery has brought down the cost to a bare minimum. Philanthropic work on research can warrant improved healthcare systems for developing nations and underserved regions.
- Improve the health and nutrition
Many nations face the ignominy of staying on the wrong side of the ranking list when it comes to preventable causes of morbidity and death. Philanthropic investments can help raise awareness about preventable diseases while delivering much-needed medicines to save millions of lives.
In the long run, philanthropy in healthcare helps boost the overall economy of the community, region, and nation.
How Can Philanthropists Disrupt the Healthcare Sector?
With the global pool of knowledge in use and the maturity with which it is being handled by the philanthropists in the healthcare sector, there are a plethora of organisations, like think tanks, NGOs, research institutes, and other healthcare advisory sectors, that can help the philanthropists with their investment. Organisations can provide much-needed data analysis and insights into the sectors where funds should be channelled for a better healthcare GDP and ROI. Philanthropists can look into the behavioural changes and understand the impact of the investment on a better and thriving healthcare ecosystem.
Tej Kohli – The disruptor
One of the few people who have been disrupting the healthcare sector globally and tackling the issue of unwanted blindness is philanthropist and angel investor Tej Kohli. Apart from investing in the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute and Tej Kohli Cornea Programme, he has teamed up with Dr. Sanduk Ruit to form the NGO Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation (TKRF). The purpose is to restore sight to 500,000 people suffering from cataract-induced blindness globally in underserved regions by 2030. Tej Kohli has also been working with Future Bionics to develop low-cost bionic limbs and ‘turn disabilities into superpowers.