Vice Chairman, Apollo Hospitals
1. How do you describe SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)?
A clarion call to equality and universality, SDGs are a global force to accelerate positive change within a set timeline, so that together, we are able to protect our planet and ensure that all enjoy good health, peace and prosperity. Moreover, the 17 goals are interlinked and if collectively, each of us perseveres towards them, no one will be left behind in our pursuit of progress.
2. How likely Indian consumers will accept these goals and work towards achieving Agenda 2030?
A very unique aspect about SDGs is their commitment to “leave no one behind” and the world will not achieve many of its SDGs targets without our nation coming through. In recognition of India’s significant importance, our Prime Minister is steering the mandate personally and endeavours such as Ayushman Bharat and Poshan Abhiyaan are aligned wholly with the SDGs. These landmark developmental programmes are focused on alleviating poverty and the consequent impact. In addition, across corporate India and in the retail marketplace, there is a growing consciousness about many of the SDGs, particularly 3, 5, 6, 7, and 11-14. Innovative efforts in waste management, recycling, responsible consumption, diversity and inclusion in the workplace are efforts that are gaining tremendous momentum and are also being scaled nationally. Put simply, the journey of change has begun in earnest along with comprehension amongst citizens that its benefits bode well for India and the planet
3. Which goal is your organization) advocating?
As a pioneering healthcare organization, Apollo Hospitals is cognizant of the immeasurable value of good health. Moreover, we are well aware that healthy citizens are the bedrock of a healthy economy. Our organization has numerous endeavours focused on the achievement of SDG 3 and passionately advocates living healthy and good health as it is essential to sustainable development. India today faces a pandemic like situation with the growing prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which includes cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. It is these 4 groups of diseases that account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths of people in the ages 35- 65 years, the most productive years of an individual. In a nation like ours, where the median age of almost half the population is 25 years, this situation is very worrisome. The biggest culprits are consumption of tobacco and alcohol, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets. Yet, we can find solace in the reality that these risk factors can be controlled and untimely mortality can be prevented. The key element in response to NCDs is avoidance of risk factors and regular screening for early detection and treatment. In addition to raising the bar in clinical excellence in India, Apollo Hospitals also introduced a preventive healthcare culture in the country. Over the years, 20 million preventive health checks have been performed and we continue to encourage all in India to make this a part of their lifestyle. In keeping with the times, Apollo recently launched ‘Pro Health’, a service that informs and empowers individuals to take charge of their health. A specially curated personalised program across 3 years, it is hinged on the guiding principle of PPO – Predict. Prevent and Overcome. Its approach is designed to facilitate greater change enabling an individual to be at their healthiest happiest best.
4. SDGs have been there since 2015. They are gaining momentum in India & the World. How important it is to developing public-private partnerships at scale to deliver progress in global development?
In 2015, 193 countries signed up the Sustainable Development Goals and in doing so, they committed to achieve economic, environmental and social progress in an inclusive manner. Undoubtedly audacious, the journey towards achieving the 17 goals requires that stakeholders work in a collaborative manner and innovative partnerships are forged within the country and even between countries. Private companies are designed to make profit and that is pivotal to their sustainability. But we need to bear in mind that every company, be it a start-up, small or large, it contributes towards shared economic, social, and environmental progress. So, the need of the hour is for creative solutions as the challenges we face are complex and knotty. It calls for fresh ideas, investments and innovations in every realm. Purpose-designed public private partnerships can bring about greater efficiency, scale and sustainability to the provision of required services and effort. They would also bring collective acumen to the fore and that is great for the country and also the planet’s future.
5. Please share your vision & thoughts on our initiative ET SDGs Impact Summit. How important do you think is the need of organizing such summits?
It is commendable that India’s leading media organization has taken the lead to curate a global platform for the achievement of the SDGs. Indisputably, the way forward requires cohesive deliberation, concerted effort and platforms such as the ET – SDG Impact summit are valuable forums in chalking a roadmap. On behalf of Apollo Hospitals, I am pleased to extend our best wishes to the organizers for the inaugural edition of ET SDGs Impact Summit.