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Last updated: 10 Dec, 2023  

Gupta.9.thmb.jpg An innovative approach is required to achieve startup goals: Aakanksha Gupta

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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 startup.

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.

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