Health- the first wealth

Health- the first wealth

All our lives have gone topsy-turvy since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. Particularly, with the deadly second wave, which is even more powerful and deadlier than the first wave, we are witnessing things getting worse, leaving us shocked. However, the present state of affairs has opened our eyes urging the government and to take immediate action to strengthen health infrastructure in the country and develop healthcare facilities with utmost urgency and the general public to take all the possible measures to stay safe and healthy.
The most important sectors to focus on when situations take a dangerous twist like this include hospitals, diagnostic centers, pharmaceutical companies, and allied services, hygiene and immunity booster, insurance, fitness centers, medical supplies, etc. Now let’s go a little deeper into the role played by each of these sectors.

HOSPITALS
The role of hospitals, which are the cradles to treat and support patients with all kinds of illness, cannot be overlooked especially in times of rapid disease outbreaks. One of the reports published by the Economic Times throws light on one of the steps taken by the Appollo Hospital Group to contain the spread. They announced the launch of the Covid-19 Red Book containing evidence-based best practice guidelines on Covid-19 and non-covid cases diagnosis, treatment, and management for Hospitals, Nursing Homes, and Healthcare Workers in late April this year. The book also highlights various aspects of Covid and non-covid cases management, two of which are the mental well-being of patients & staff and checklists for every department.

DIAGNOSTIC CENTRES
Laboratories play a pivotal role in the early detection and diagnosis of diseases. With widespread illness, people are making it a habit to regularly test and seek treatment. Dr. Lal PathLabs, one of the leading providers of biometric testing services, population health, and comprehensive workforce strategies has launched facilities for on-site as well as remote screening and testing services designed for supporting overall health care, risk management, and employer Return to Work/ Stay at Work strategies. Moreover, the employer services offered by the lab assists organizations to come up with testing strategies.

MEDICAL SUPPLIES
As the pandemic keeps on increasing the death toll daily, there is also an increasing need to look at introducing devices that can help us fight it. Producing and making available efficient medical devices are crucial to providing high-quality and cost-effective patient care to address the rising occurrence of illnesses. Polly Medicure, a leading Indian medical device company that bagged the prestigious ‘India Medical Devices Company of the Year’ in 2009 for its excellent contribution to the sector has introduced some products (VTM Kit, N95 masks and Face Protective Shields) that can help us stay protected in this battle against covid-19.

PHARMA SECTOR AND RAW MATERIALS FOR PHARMA
Rapid medical progress by increasing research to bring new medicines and improve the health and quality of life of people is the key to the pharma sector. Significant efforts have been underway by pharma industry players to diagnose, treat and prevent infections from the virus. They work in the following areas, viz.:
• Treatment Development
• Vaccine development and manufacture
• Diagnostics
Some of the major work conducted by the major players include:

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories
• Development of new treatment options for covid patients while ensuring the uninterrupted supply of its existing range of products for infectious diseases in the market. This
Hyderabad-based firm, in partnership with various organizations, has launched the Sputnik V vaccine.
Cipla
• Supply of essential items like masks, Personal Protection Equipments gloves, and sanitizers to frontline health workers in public health institutions.
Zydus Cadila
• Reports published by The Economic Times a week indicate that the firm is aiming to triple to increase the monthly production of a vaccine to as many as 30 million doses.
Laurus Labs
• The Indian pharma and biotech company headquartered in Hyderabad received US Food and Drug Administration approval to market hydroxychloroquine tablets, which the company announced later to be supplied for clinical trials of preventive treatment of COVID-19 in patients receiving radiation therapy.

HYGIENE& IMMUNITY BOOSTERS
With diseases on the rise, more and more people are turning to the magic bullets of immune-boosting supplements to boost their disease defenses and get an extra edge over illnesses. Some of the striking examples of companies doing exemplary work in preventing covid in the Hygiene& Immunity Booster segment include HUL and Dabur. Some of the efforts taken by HUL include:
• Donating essential products to the needy
• Undertaking investments towards upgrading healthcare facilities and ensuring the health & safety of communities and our people.
And given below are some of the initiatives taken by Dabur:
• Launching close to 40 new products to help with immunity protection such as Tulsi Drops, Haldi Drops, Amla Juice, etc.
• The ayurvedic specialties division has a pipeline of about 50-80 new products ready for launch at any time.

INSURANCE
Unpredictable times have made the need for life and health insurance not just beneficial but a necessity. Take the case of HDFC Bank, which introduced measures to enhance medical infrastructure across the country. Some of the measures include:
• Setting up of permanent medical infrastructure
• Committing funds under Parivarthan (the CSR initiative of the bank) for Covid-19 relief initiatives.
• Creating isolation centers, etc.
ICICI Lombard announced recently that:
• It will make an advance payment of up to two months’ gross salary to all its COVID- positive employees.
• It will make reimburse the medical infrastructure support expenses up to a maximum of ₹10,000 per family member, arising as a result of the home quarantine of the infected employees.

FITNESS
Tube Investments India Ltd is Chennai based firm belonging to the Murugappa Group specializing in engineering, bicycles, metal-formed products, and chains. Covid era is a period when we have seen people becoming increasingly aware of leading an active lifestyle paving way for fitness to emerge as a predominant aspect in managing our healthcare and wellness. The covid prevention methods of the Tube Investments are not just limited to providing the best care to the employees but is more of a CSR activity whereby the company contributed an amount within the budget of 0.26 Cr to the Central Government Fund, as a part of their Covid -19 Relief Project (2019-20).
All these initiatives help us understand the importance placed on organizations upon the health and well-being of the stakeholders reminding us to take all the possible efforts to keep ourselves healthy thereby reminding us of the age-old proverb ‘Health is Wealth’.
“ The first wealth is health,” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Content Development: Anju Kurian & Aswathi Satish, Niyog Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd