The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Bayer Consumer Health Division partnered and convened the ‘Self-care for a Self-reliant India’ conference. The event was graced by key industry representatives and consumer health experts, fostering a discussion on everyday consumer health solutions and the important role they will continue to play in the current pandemic and beyond.
In India, adults have a tendency to overlook minor illnesses, thus failing to prioritize everyday healthcare. This can take a toll on overall health, wellbeing and productivity. An average Indian’s peak productive period lasts only seven years as per a Lancet study, with India ranked 158 among 195 countries in ‘expected human capital’ or the number of years an individual can work at peak productivity is between the ages of 20 and 64. Further, India also ranked below all other countries in the South Asian region in functional health status, which assesses the prevalence of impairments and diseases that affect learning and productivity. The advent of responsible self-care can help address these gaps, promoting proactive health-seeking behaviours which can contribute to an optimized quality of life and the maintenance of a healthy workforce. Moreover, given that India may have the world’s largest workforce by 2027, consumer health can play a significant role in bolstering productivity by reducing lost labour time and lowering hospitalization costs.
Self-care solutions, which offer multifold benefits for individuals and the economy, also ease the pressure on healthcare practitioners. There is only one doctor for every 1,511 people in India, against the World Health Organization’s stipulated 1:1000 doctor-patient ratio. Consumer health offerings can reduce the need for clinic visits, thus sustaining proactive everyday healthcare and reaching underserved consumers across the nation. This can enable communities to bounce back beyond the pandemic with enhanced health and productivity.
Addressing the need for a paradigm shift in consumer health in India, Bayer Consumer Health Division has launched India’s first Self-Care Council with the aim to navigate and address pressing topics and misconceptions about health and sustainability. This council, a multi-stakeholder body, will comprise members across a broad spectrum of sectors, including media, industry associations, technology, infrastructure, and other organizations. Through this council, Bayer Consumer Health also plans to launch a national self-care knowledge service, a first of its kind digitally-enabled solution backed by scientific expertise to empower consumers with uninterrupted access to reliable and credible information on self-care. This service can prompt proactive health management for improved quality of life and increased productivity.
The ‘Self-care for a Self-reliant India’ conference, through panel discussions with eminent speakers including Mr. Sandeep Verma, Country Head, Bayer Consumer Health Division, India, Ms. Manjari Gharat, Academician & President, Indian Pharmaceutical Association, Dr. Avula Laxman, Senior Deputy Director, Indian Council of Medical Research and Dr. VG Somani, Drugs Controller General of India, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation examined the current landscape of self-care in India and the need to accelerate the adoption of responsible self-care practices in the country. Over a fireside chat, Mr. N.K. Ahuja, Drugs Controller, Haryana and Mr. Arun Mishra, FICCI OTC Task Force elaborated on the direction in which regulatory change and a well-developed framework is needed for a comprehensive OTC policy to build a sustainable consumer health sector, setting the foundation for Aatmanirbharta in self-care.
Addressing the conference, Dr VG Somani, Drug Controller General (India), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India said that while there are predictions of a third wave hitting the country, there have been continuous efforts to find newer solutions. “Although the third wave might be milder in nature, it will, probably, effect various age groups. We need to be prepared to deal with this. As India combats the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to accelerate the momentum for adoption of consumer health solutions, to ensure the national health system is supported at this time. By raising health awareness and putting in place well-defined regulations, consumers can be empowered to take proactive measures to manage minor ailments while also undertaking preventive action to boost immunity, thus reducing the need for healthcare practitioner interventions,” he said.
Sandeep Verma, Country Head, Bayer Consumer Health Division – India commented, “The current times have highlighted the need for self-care, which can enhance productivity and one’s quality of life, driving India’s goal towards Atmanirbharta and becoming a $5 trillion economy in the next few years. At this crucial juncture, easing the burden on India’s healthcare infrastructure is imperative, while simultaneously equipping and empowering more than one billion Indians to make informed choices and pursue better health and nutrition. Bayer Consumer Health is committed to working collaboratively with stakeholders through the country’s first Self-Care Council to enable responsible self-care in India, driving forward our vision of ‘Health for All, Hunger for None’. Through this endeavour, we hope to expand access to safe, convenient and effective daily health solutions.”
Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) said, “The advent of self-care in India reflects the emergence of new and sustainable care paradigms that will transform the nation’s healthcare system. We aim to encourage responsible health decisions amongst consumers and the need for accessible consumer health in the country. During these unprecedented times, self-care solutions are needed more than ever, towards positive change and better health outcomes for all.”
Bayer Consumer Health’s Global Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, Patricia Corsi, who also leads the first Global Creative Council for self-care, highlighted the importance of collaboration. “Globally, the goal of our creative council is to elevate the work done across Consumer Health in order to support and educate consumers, thus promoting optimal health outcomes. We, at Bayer Consumer Health, are excited to extend this mode of collaboration to India with the country’s first-ever Self-Care Council, through which we hope to develop and exchange global insights and best practices to facilitate everyday health and access to care in the nation.”
Bayer’s Consumer Health division in India, encompasses a strong portfolio of 10 trusted and legacy brands across analgesics, nutrition, allergy, and dermatology categories. As a part of its Global Sustainability Goals, Bayer’s Consumer Health Division aims to expand access to everyday health for 100 million people in underserved communities around the world. The division leverages digital opportunities across the entire value chain to scale access to healthcare and personalized self-care solutions, raise awareness and provide reliable health information.