India Insight

Health start-ups tap India’s growing home care sector

When Krishnan Ganesh’s father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, Ganesh had to “run from pillar to post” to get quality medical care at home, a concept that is not prevalent in India. That’s when he hit upon the idea of a home healthcare service.

The Bangalore-based entrepreneur, who founded online tutoring company TutorVista in 2005 and sold it to British publisher Pearson for $213 million, then bought start-up Portea Medical in July 2013.

Portea Medical and start-ups such as Health Care at Home India, Homital and India Home Health Care provide at-home services ranging from geriatric and post-surgery care to physiotherapy and general doctor visits.

“Demand is large and technology can be used for innovation and disrupting the status quo, and basically address a large problem like we had done in TutorVista for education,” Ganesh said.

India’s home healthcare industry, which consists of home-based medical devices and home services, is worth $2 billion and growing at 20 percent annually, according to accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Doctors seek home-grown deterrents in India’s diabetes fight

From yoga and fenugreek powder to mobile messaging, diabetes experts in India are searching for local and cost-effective methods to fend off the disease as it affects ever more numbers of people in the country.

India is home to more than 60 million diabetics, a number that the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI) estimates will cross 85 million in 2030, or nearly 8 percent of the country’s population today.

Among the reasons for the rising number of cases is an increasing tendency toward sedentary lifestyles that have accompanied growing economic prosperity, as well as genetic predispositions in a country already known for its sweet tooth.  Doctors told India Insight that in 1975 — when India’s GDP was around $100 billion — only about 1.5 percent of its population had diabetes. Today’s percentage is more in line with developed nations such as the United States at 8.3 percent and France at 5 percent.

Smokers ignore India’s public smoking ban

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters Corp.)

It’s been nearly five years since India banned smoking in public places, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to Sugandha. The jeans-clad woman in her twenties is standing at a subway entrance in New Delhi as a man smokes a cigarette a few steps away, indifferent to how the fumes annoy passersby.

“We can’t say anything to anyone,” she said. “They won’t take it positively.”

from The Human Impact:

Undernourished and anaemic – the plight of India’s teen girls

The U.N.'s latest report on the state of the world's 1.2 billion adolescents gives food for thought, especially on the plight of India's girls aged between 10 and 19.

The report explores a range of issues affecting teenagers around the globe, from nutrition and health to sexual behaviour, knowledge on HIV/AIDS, attitudes towards gender violence and access to education.

Data from surveys of adolescent girls in India, and South Asia in general, are once again a reality check - which we shouldn't need but unfortunately still do.

Delhi superbug a symptom of India’s ills

By Neha Arha

From objecting to biological samples in the form of “swabs of seepage water and tap water” being smuggled out of the country “on the sly” by British scientists, to calling the resultant Lancet report a western plot to kill India’s potentially $2.3 billion medical tourism industry, New Delhi’s defensive rhetoric appears misplaced as cases of poor health standards surface each day in India’s capital city.

A child drinks water from a tap in a slum area of New Delhi June 4, 2003. REUTERS/FilesA study, published last August in The Lancet Infectious Diseases citing the drug resistant NDM-1 bug that had evolved in India, and named after New Delhi, raised global concerns when the World Health Organisation endorsed the report.

Since its release, the Indian health establishment has downplayed its findings, and alleged a conflict of interest over the report’s funding.

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