Equalize Health looking to expand footprint in India


New Delhi, April 11, 2022:Equalize Health (EH), a not-for-profit medical technology company, working with a mission to close health equity gaps for mothers and newborns, is looking to expand its manufacturing footprint and innovation partnerships in India and double the size of its team in the next couple of years. The EH officials feel that India is well-positioned to serve the whole world with high-quality, affordable medical devices.

This owes significance in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Make in India’ campaign that aims to develop, manufacture and assemble products made in India.

EH has chalked a strategy leveraging the focus of the Indian government on increasing the health spending backed by schemes like the Ayushman Bharat Health insurance scheme that envisages to cover 500 million citizens.

“Through our extensive work alongside doctors and nurses, we have an understanding of the interventions required in the healthcare sector, especially for mothers and newborns. The ambitious scheme of Hon Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji to bring about 500 million citizens under the fold of Ayushman Bharat Health insurance scheme, provides immense opportunities for EH, that has an edge in design and launch of low-cost medical devices and services,” said Krista Donaldson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Equalize Health, in an exclusive interaction.

“In India we have been working for the past 13 years. We focus on maternal and newborn care. We prioritize the voices of healthcare workers and patients in the design and launch of medical devices and services. For medical solutions, we draw on inputs from  the frontline doctors and nurses  who we seek to benefit,” said Donaldson on her India visit.

“Based on the need in India we launched our product, Brilliance, for newborns suffering from jaundice,” she said, adding the medical companies need to take cues from local conditions. “For oxygen needs of premature babies, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is used, but one should think of designing products that even function when there is a power cut  or when oxygen cylinders are used in situations where access to oxygen is limited,” she added.

EH is also focused on curbing postpartum hemorrhage deaths, where, despite any advancements in maternal health in India, “there is still a need to reduce the death numbers.”

To a question about what lessons the Pandemic has taught, Donaldson said, “Covid-19 has given lessons that collaborations with NGOs and state governments are the need of the hour. Through our tele-mentoring program which functions in partnership with local governments and development partners, we have enhanced the knowledge and capabilities of doctors and nurses to manage Covid19 patients”

Praising the efforts of the Indian government, Donaldson said, “The Indian government has been taking several bold initiatives that encourage startups, especially health startups, to enter into domestic manufacturing. The regulations have been made transparent, particularly of Medical Devices Rules, that provide opportunities to manufacturers of such devices.”

“The scope of activities in India for EH has been rising steadily: From a place of impact – to a place for manufacturing – to a place of talent – to place of ideas,” added Donaldson.

EH set up an entity in India in 2020 and its office here is their largest in the world.

Giving a roadmap on EH’s future plan, the CEO said the organization is looking to expand its manufacturing footprint in India. “We have found that manufacturers in India not only serve the country’s needs but also cater to the global market with world-class affordable medical devices. We have made tie ups with firms in south Indian states. In time to come we shall be expanding more,” she said.

“Our strategy is five-pronged — identify, develop, distribute, support and measure. This strategy is necessary so that we identify the need and design our products based on it. We develop and design world-class affordable products and distribute them. Support is also necessary for servicing the product and measuring the impact to let us know how our products are helping to improve the health of mothers and babies and closing the healthcare gaps that most impact them,” Donaldson said.