Nasscom, BIRAC launch contest to develop healthtech solution for small towns, rural areas

The contest aims to identify up to 25 best healthtech solutions from startups and SMEs, and provide pilot test beds in collaboration with state governments at primary health centres (PHCs), community health centres (CHCs), and industry.
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 IT industry body Nasscom and state-run Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) on Monday launched a contest, JANCare, to develop technology solutions for delivery of healt care solutions in small towns and rural areas.

The contest aims to identify up to 25 best healthtech solutions from startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and provide pilot test beds in collaboration with state governments at primary health centres (PHCs), community health centres (CHCs), and industry to help their validation and scale-up for adoption.

Department of Biotechnology Secretary Renu Swarup said the 25 innovations would help in test the waters to deliver healthcare services to the last mile in rural areas.

She said more than the financial support, the involvement of state governments with PHCs and CHCs for test beds was more important to boost confidence in new technology-based solutions.

"The population of low resource areas, and PHCs, CHCs in rural and semi-urban areas are likely to get benefitted through local deployment of the innovative and affordable healthtech solutions. This innovation challenge would promote customised products developed by startups and SMEs to address the local challenges and unmet needs," Swarup said.

AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare, Siemens Healthineers, Medanta Hospitals, St. John's Research Institute, Health Care Global Enterprises, and Tata AIG have joined hands with this innovation challenge to provide support and mentorship to participating startups till the end of pilot phase.

Medanta Chairman and Managing Director Naresh Trehan said about 17 percent of super-specialists are Indians.

"We are running whole world healthcare systems, except we did not look inwards. It gives me great pleasure and actually it gives me a boost in my own thinking that the vision that we set out many years ago is going to be multiplied by with this partnership," Trehan said.

Nasscom President Debjani Ghosh said good and affordable healthcare should be available to everyone, and with this vision in mind Nasscom has been instrumental in helping build a tech enabled healthcare startup ecosystem in the country.

"Through this JANCare Innovation Grand Challenge, we aim to evangelise more organisations and individuals to build specialised healthcare solutions, and democratise access to modern medicine for all," Ghosh said.

Edited by Teja Lele