“From illness to wellness”- tracing the path of integrative medicine

The global demand for healthcare and beauty products has catapulted to new heights as beauty brands are bouncing back with a rise in sales expected by the end of the year. The most effective ones give preference to aspects such as inclusivity and sustainability while providing a differentiated omnichannel consumer experience.

ET Insights got in tough with an industry expert, Salil Mathew, COO(Chief Operating Officer), Elements Wellness to take us through the trajectory that the healthcare industry is expected to the take in the coming months.

What are 3 key points necessary for healthcare to flourish in India?

There are a few factors critical to help the health care sector flourish in India

The first of these is to shift the focus in a major way from therapeutic health care to preventive health care or to put it in other words “from illness to wellness”. This can be done in a few simple ways outlined below

  1. Increase reliance on integrative medicine including the mainstreaming of traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. Ayurveda, in particular carries tremendous potential as an effective alternative to allopathic medicine. There are areas like liver health, management of renal calculi and many more such conditions where there exists a lot of documented literature outlining the potency of certain herbs in managing certain conditions. Combined with popular Ayurvedic therapy practices, Ayurveda has the potential to be the ‘go-to’ form of medicine for solving minor and major problems alike. Ayurveda is ‘evidence -based; and this needs to be projected in a powerful manner within the health care sector
  2. Educating the citizens of the country on the advantages of regular exercise and disciplines like Yoga that could be incorporated into a daily regime. There also needs to be a mechanism for improving compliance. Parallelly, promote the role of nutrition as a major factor in maintaining good health and issue guidelines for good practices in terms of diet and nutrition. Dramatically lowering the rate of malnutrition in India could in itself bring about a quick and major turnaround within the health care sector
  3. The Doctor: Patient ratio in our country is very poor compared to more developed countries.

Improving this is just one aspect of the solution. Along with this, the infrastructure in public health centres needs to be beefed up so that the underprivileged sections as well as those in remote areas have easy access to quality health care that helps diagnose and treat at an early stage in the onset of a health problem. Such centres need to be equipped with modern diagnostic equipment accessible at very low costs to the general public

Do you believe that there will be a future of a self-reliant India with the advent of smart technology in Healthcare?

It is not smart technology alone that will propel the advancement of India’s health care system. There are two fundamental issues that need to addressed on priority

  • a) access to low-cost quality health care in rural areas and amongst the lower income groups across the country
  • b) spreading awareness about health care in order to enable a large proportion of our population embrace appropriate wellness measure. The role of traditional systems of medicine (Ayurveda in particular), diet as an important determinant of good health and exercise cannot be overemphasised here.

What are the areas of greatest risk levels faced by healthcare enterprise?

According to me, there are a few aspects that take care of the risk levels faced by the healthcare industry. These include:

Shortage of doctors in smaller towns and villages in the country

Lack of infrastructure to prevent spread of communicable diseases

Lack of awareness amongst general public on actions to be taken to promote their personal health

Inadequate focus on women’s health and related problems.

What are the steps required by India to become an Innovation capital of the World?

The foremost step that should be taken is to promote the traditional system of Ayurveda in an impactful manner. The big opportunity here is to make India the first mover in harnessing the power integrative medicine. This could commence by using alternate medicines as an adjuvant in treatment with contemporary drugs and gradually increase the scope of this form to stand alone treatment of ailments to prevent the ailment from progressing to an advanced stage.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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