Rituparna Kakati | 10 Dec, 2023
In an exclusive interview with SME Times, Doctor, Educationist and
Business enthusiast Aakanksha Gupta said that an innovative approach is a must
for startups to excel. She adds that funding constraints and regulatory
compliance are some major challenges for the sector.
Excerpts of the interview…
1. How do you envision integrating
preventive healthcare concepts seamlessly into the school curriculum, ensuring
a balance with academic priorities?
Since integrating preventive healthcare concepts into the school
curriculum is crucial for the overall well-being of students, I envision designing
interdisciplinary modules for our Bachpan Play School and Academic Heights
Public School (AHPS) chains. This would help make sure that preventive
healthcare is not considered to be an entirely separate topic but is very much
a part of existing subjects. Collaborations with experts and health
professionals, age-appropriate activities, and the cultivation of a supportive
and nurturing environment are some of the other ways that I see inculcating
preventive health practices in students while ensuring a harmonious balance
with academic priorities.
2. As someone deeply involved in the education sector, what specific
preventive health measures do you think should be prioritised in play schools
and public schools, and how can these be implemented effectively?
As someone who is deeply involved in the education sector, I do think
that there are some preventive health measures that should be prioritised in
play schools and public schools. First and foremost, rigorous hygiene practices
such as regular handwashing and sanitisation, as well as regular health
check-ups, should be made compulsory. They would help identify health concerns
well in advance. For nurturing good health, it is also important to incorporate
physical activities and balanced nutrition into the curriculum.
I believe that continuous training of the school staff, collaboration
with local health authorities, involvement of parents in awareness campaigns,
and leveraging of technology, most of all, are some of the ways that preventive
health measures can be implemented effectively. Therefore, a proactive approach
is what’s needed.
3. What specific challenges have you faced in establishing
your startup, especially in the realm of reproductive health education, and how
have you addressed them?
So, this startup that I am working on comes with a specific set of
challenges, and they are primarily centred on taboos and stigmas that still
exist in society about reproductive health. Also, different demographics have
different educational needs, which is an added challenge in addition to funding
constraints and regulatory compliance. All this means that quite an innovative
approach is required to achieve the startup goals.
I am focusing on leveraging digital platforms to address the said
challenges. Also, strategic partnerships with healthcare organisations and
awareness campaigns are how I aim to establish a sustainable and impactful
4. How can technology play a pivotal role in enhancing
healthcare education, both within formal educational institutions and through
external initiatives targeting the general public?
Technology makes learning accessible and flexible. Also, digital
platforms not only enable students to understand concepts at their own pace but
also enhance their decision-making skills through realistic scenarios conjured
up by AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality). What’s more, there are
now telemedicine platforms as well that facilitate the real-time imparting of
healthcare education/consultation for the general public. Also, there are and
can be apps, webinars, and online resources (apart from social media platforms)
that have the power to facilitate healthcare education.
All in all, technology plays a pivotal role when it comes to healthcare
education, both within educational institutions and in society.
5. What innovative approaches or technologies do you believe
can make healthcare more engaging and accessible for this demographic,
particularly within the school system?
I see vast potential in AR and VR applications for creating immersive
educational experiences for students. Also, educational mobile health apps,
which provide interactive and engaging lessons on topics such as mental health,
nutrition, and preventive care, are a good option in this regard. There is also
great potential in the use of gamification for making healthcare more fun,
engaging, and accessible. Even virtual consultations within the school
environment and system are a good way to go. Such innovative approaches and
technologies would actually help empower students and our future generations.
6. How can healthcare professionals be better trained to
provide inclusive and accessible services for individuals with disabilities?
According to me,
comprehensive training programs are the need of the hour if we want to provide
healthcare professionals with the skills needed to offer inclusive and accessible
services for PwDs. Those programs should be centred on core values such as
empathy and sensitivity towards people with different kinds of needs and
challenges. There is also a need to make the curriculum more integrated, with
real-life circumstances and case studies included that pertain to PwDs. Also is
a need to offer practical training on assistive technologies as well as
communication etiquette through regular professional development programs and
workshops. All this would definitely help healthcare professionals address the
diverse needs of diverse individuals with diverse abilities, making for an
accessible healthcare system.