Venture Philanthropy to Tackle India’s Silent Killer Diseases

Did you know that cardiovascular disease is currently the leading cause of death in urban and rural India? Killing three million people annually? India is also home to more than 60 million diabetics, more than any other country. Diabetes and heart disease are two of the world’s leading killers and known as Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD). Prof. K. Srinath Reddy of the Public Health Foundation of India says, “Chronic diseases have reached epidemic proportions in India. Less than half of the people living with these diseases are diagnosed and receiving treatment.  A concerted effort toward addressing this burden requires strengthening the health system through an innovative, multi-sector approach.”

The Medtronic Foundation will invest in a five-year, $6 million venture philanthropy commitment in India to accelerate programs specifically designed to expand access to quality care and management of diabetes and heart disease. The Foundation is committed to improving the lives of people around the world living with chronic disease, with a majority of grant making thoughtfully aligned with its commitment to expand access to quality healthcare among underserved populations. Dr. Jacob Gayle, executive director of the Medtronic Foundation and VP, Medtronic Community Affairs says, “Focusing on diabetes and cardiovascular disease, we hope to strengthen overall health systems in order to expand access in underserved communities.  Given both the need and opportunity in India, it was clear that we needed to ramp up our support to help those already working to improve care.”

Improving NCD care in India is a complex task that requires a collaborative support of initiatives that can provide equal access and reduces the economic and social burden of these diseases. Since 2010, the Medtronic Foundation has been at the forefront of private sector and venture philanthropy efforts to contribute to the NCD dialogue and has committed $1.2 million to projects in India.

Moving forward, the Foundation will continue to increase global funding and venture philanthropy to expand access to NCD care for underserved communities, specifically focusing to recruit, train and equip frontline health workers.  It will spearhead programs that increase the availability of care and establish best practices that can be implemented by others.

NCDs accounts for more than 60 percent of all deaths worldwide and the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called upon the world's businesses to help address NCDs, which are expected to increase by 50 percent in developing countries by 2030.  These silent killer diseases account for roughly 75 percent of healthcare costs in both advanced and developing economies, according to the World Economic Forum.

Photo Credit: The Medtronic Foundation

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