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August 22, 2012

A challenge. A cause. A commitment.

Posted by Krishnan Narayanan (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:51 AM

Source:USAID & National Rural Health Mission

Who can disagree - when work is a passion, every day is a joy? For some it's all about the fun at work, for others breaking a record, creating something new perhaps, or making a difference. It's a little bit of all of this that drives me.  That's why, I deem it a grand privilege to be at the forefront of the team from Infosys that's working shoulder to shoulder with MDG Health Alliance and the United Nations Foundation to end child diarrheal deaths, in support of the United Nations Secretary-General's Every Woman Every Child movement. This team works to scale up access to oral hydration therapy and zinc formulations all over the country.

Ground realities, when it comes to child mortality, in India are stark. Over 60% to 70% of the 2 million children who die in India, every year, can clearly be saved. The culprit being poor neo-natal care and healthcare protection from just 5 illnesses - including diarrhea. 235,000 children die, every year, due to diarrhea alone. In the past several weeks, I have participated in numerous round table discussions and task force meetings convened to address various aspects of this challenge. And frankly, it's been an eye-opener.

Now, I know, we must focus on 3 distinct aspects: 
• Generate consumer and health-provider demand for oral hydration therapy and zinc products
• Increase supply of oral hydration therapy and zinc products in varying formulations
• Distribute and ensure easy availability of these in the far-flung corners of India

Creating awareness about oral hydration therapy and zinc amongst consumers is critical. In several villages, in India, zinc is associated with fertilizers and hence considered unfit for consumption. Educating rural healthcare workers is so critical. To enable this, at Infosys, we've developed a mobile-based decision support system to empower healthcare workers to provide primary healthcare service accurately and efficiently.

I see some interesting possibilities for pharmaceutical and consumer goods companies, in India, to lend some muscle to the supply and distribution side of things. Of course, technology can play a significant role in enabling collaboration between various task force members of this initiative. And, strengthen the foundation for co-creation too. I see distinct scope for Infosys Labs to harness the power of technology for this initiative.

Over the years, as part of my role at Infosys Labs, I've spent days on end discussing innovation with clients - leveraging technology to create business impact, setting up co-creation programs and such like. Now, for the first ever, I find myself applying all that experience and learning to take on a grand health challenge. And a worthy cause. 
It's exhilarating. It's fulfilling. It's the stuff that radical progress is made of. 


Excellent initiative by Infosys. Another aspect that to control this problem is to educate people at grass root level on importance of Water Hygiene and cleanliness. This will help us focus on prevention of disease. IT can play a very important role in educating people on this.

Great initiative! There is a need to widen the scope from women & child to complete Public Health Care facilities in India (especially in rural primary health care centers). Infosys can develop most preferred and sustainable solution to give access to health care facilities to the under privileged through the medium of ICT in a seamless manner. Infosys can help government in developing low cost yet high yield product and process (affordable and acceptable by common citizens) and thereby contribute for a definite impact on country's development through inclusive growth

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