An insightful talk with Dr. Ashok Seth, Chairman Fortis Escorts


What is the condition of the nation’s heart in the present scenario?
Health of the nation should be the heart of the nation. Unfortunately it’s not the case, the focus on healthcare at present, is too delayed and too little. Healthcare was not treated as the priority even after knowing the pace by which the population of India is growing since past five decades which ultimately grew in a bigger problem. Healthcare delivery in financially weak countries is much better than that of India because of the planned system. The various governments which came into power considered it a spending rather than a gain. It is very regretful to say that the heart of the nation is not at all in a good state as there is not much healthcare provision for the under-privileged section of the society as compared to the richer population. There is a big gap between the expertise and services being provided. Healthcare of the country has to be improved as well as the delivery of healthcare has to become more systematic and affordable .It has to be highly subsidised healthcare for many and free for some. Policy is the one aspect and will is the other aspect .Policies and the execution happens with will or belief which is one of the most important areas to take care. Promises don’t get transferred into executions. It’s the way every government has to function.

I exercise regularly. There are some passions that I pursue- I do two days of yoga and five days of trainer based exercise . I have other hobbies of scuba diving and singing.

What are the initiatives Fortis Escorts have taken to create awareness for heart diseases?
We have a huge amount of data of over 25 years which we have consistently published in partnership with media and we have made sure that it reaches the target group. We have done a lot of camps, teaching programmes, emails, messages, and websites that give regular health tips to the public. Moreover, we are the first one to introduce children’s cholesterol screening clinic of Hyperlipidemia which is first of its kind in the country. Children of 10+ years age need to get regular checkups for cholesterol because there are conditions which lead to cholesterol and heart problems at an early age.
We have worked hard for heart disease prevention among many. But it is very complex as Indians are counter active rather than being pro-active. They think it will never happen to them, it’s always once it strikes us that is when we say we should take some measures but that is when it is too late. The psychology of the people should change. We can decrease 25 percent of having a heart attack by 45 minutes of daily walk. Decreasing heart problems is in our own hands.
One of the initiatives which can help counter heart disease is the organ donation. The current organ donation rate is 0.5 donors per million population as compared to more than 30 donors per million in some western countries. There is serious shortage of organs and the gap between the number of organs donated and the number people waiting for transplant is ever increasing. Close to half a million Indians die, failing to get organs on time. We can help save such lives by increasing the Organ Donation rate in the country.

As a chairman of Fortis Escort what is your Vision?
We have set the bench mark and we have maintained the standards as the best cardiac institute. My vision revolves around two aspects where we are still deficient. The very first aspect is Research. We have provided the infrastructure but we need to value research . As a nation if you are going to progress in the field of cardiology and medical sciences. Research needs to propel with a true international spirit by that I mean innovations. Innovations which are frugal, innovations which can actually help the medical delivery to the people of healthcare. 80 percent of the devices are from abroad which are expensive. It’s just not me, all doctors and medical students should think on this terms.
The second aspect is, What is next , what’s next not for Escorts rather it is for the country . We need to start medical education differently. We need to start academic into whole curriculum of research. I would want to see more doctors administering in private healthcare so that they know exactly how to deliver to the patient in a compassionate manner .Ethics should be followed in a lot bigger manner.


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