Out of the box service

ISB team after winning the Hult Prize  

In the week when India created history for its successful Mangalyaan mission in the first attempt, a group of alumni from the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad were creating their own history and adding to the country’s glory. The students Aditi Vaish, Ashish Bondia, Manish Ranjan, Pranav Kumar Maranganty and Ramanathan Lakshmanan with their innovative idea ‘Doc in the Box’ became the first Indian team to participate in the world’s largest student body competition - Hult Prize and winning it. In the process, the team bagged the $ one million funding support from the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

The students with their social enterprise ‘NanoHealth Initiative’ made news with their innovative idea. One of the group members Manish talks about the way the team worked together. “We all came from diverse backgrounds like finance, health, marketing and NGO. The prime reason that got us together was being able to make a difference and the kind of positive impact the initiative will have. Of course meeting Bill Clinton and the opportunity of bagging the one million dollars funding support was also motivating,” states Manish. Recalling the team’s brain storming sessions, Manish says the idea’s success was their only driving force. “Arriving at a decision was crucial and we would take a mature decision. Once the idea ‘Doc in the box’ came, it evolved and improved in the right direction,” he states.

Focus areas

The idea was to address chronic diseases faced by slum dwellers in urban areas and how one can reduce the cost. With ‘Doc in the box’, the service cost will be Rs. 90 per person. The two main areas of focus were the cardio-vascular diseases and diabetes. The project was tested at two locations – Anjaiah Nagar in Kondapur and another in Bihar to get a fair assumption of the results. “We screened around 582 people and 46 people are on the plan,” says Manish. With not much time, the group partnered with Youth for Seva, an NGO which was already working in the area. “Trust is important to gain the confidence of people and we didn’t have too much time. So we took the support of Youth for Seva in Hyderabad and the Rotary Club in Bihar,” says Manish. The service aims to bring in intervention at initial stages so that the problems of under diagnosis, poor treatment and poor compliance to the diseases can be avoided. Adds Ashish, “As a primary care physician myself, I have seen patients of chronic diseases fall in-and-out of treatment, leading to disease aggravation. Tackling this issue of poor prescription compliance has been something that I have been very passionate about for several years. I am thrilled about the opportunity to create a social enterprise that will tackle this problem and create a sustained social impact.”

Winning the Hult Prize is a dream come true, says Manish. “Equally cherishing was meeting Bill Clinton. He is one of the revered presidents and now he is involved in making an impact,” he says.

Why the name ‘Nano Health’ for the initiative? “Balaji of HMRI was a great support and advisor to us. He said ‘you get what you need and the cost also reduces’ and he suggested NanoHealth,” he says with a smile.

What was amazing was the way the ISB students reacted to their win says Manish. “It was pretty electrifying. To get notes from friends who compared it to India’s Mars Mission was very inspiring,” he says.

The prize money will go into the enterprise. Ashish Bondia will soon join Manish and both will put their idea into practice from mid-November. “The other three will continue in their jobs but we both will be engaged in it full time,” he says. To implement their idea, they will recruit ‘saathis’ or community workers who will be ‘like a good friend or neighbour for your good health’.

Ashish says their vision is bold and ambitious. “To convert this into reality, we will need to sew up several partnerships that will enable us to scale rapidly.” Before concluding Manish says the onus is to make a positive difference in as many lives as possible. “Being part of social enterprise does not mean someone wearing kurta and carrying a jhola. One can do good work and earn good money. But the satisfaction of knowing that you are making the impact, you will not get it anywhere else.”

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 1:25:24 PM |

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