“SOCIAL CHANGE THROUGH SOCIAL JUSTICE ”                                   Up


In conversation with Ms. Kakoli Sengupta, an academician by profession, who can boast of a PhD, along with being the founding member of Engage India Foundation. Currently, a reader in International Relations, Department of Arts at the Jadavpur University, Kolkata, her areas of expertise include Peace and Conflict Studies, Terrorism and Counter-terrorism, Conflict Resolution and Gender issues. More importantly an active social worker and a well known figure in the city of Kolkata, we salute her for accomplishments and wish her all the luck for her future endeavours.

"A Symbol of Hope, A Symbol of Trust, A Symbol of Faith, A Symbol of Love - Engage India Foundation. We feel for society." .

According to you, how important is social work in today's evolving society?
I have always been interested in working for society in a meaningful manner. Apart from academics, social work is my passion. I feel as an educated person, I have a role to play in the society by contributing and applying my knowledge towards addressing social issues.

What made you take up social work?

This passion of mine to actively work for the society and bring about a change in the lives of people who are vulnerable and deprived has been encouraged to a great extent by my very own family - especially my mother and sister who have always motivated me to follow my dream of trying to impact society through constructive and positive social work. I am an alumnus of Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata and my school definitely played an important role in shaping my thoughts. I will always be grateful to my teachers who have taught me and encouraged me to excel in whatever I do.

What have been your major engagements so far?

I have been a member of the Social Service Inner Wheel Club, Tollygunge which mainly works for the cause of women and children. Later I was associated with an NGO- Bhawanipur Ashadeep, which mainly supported meritorious underprivileged students in their education.

Why 'Engage India Foundation'?

Having had experience in social work for 12 years, I wanted to start an organization with a different vision and perspective, hence Engage India Foundation came into being. Personally, my father's illness also affected me - during a hernia operation, he developed post-stroke dementia. I read up extensively on Dementia and Alzheimers and also went to the Alzheimers Society of Kolkata. Today, I am an Executive Member of the Alzheimers Society of Kolkata. Thus, I think an interest in healthcare runs in my genes. In my maternal family, Late Dwarka Nath Gooptu was doctor to the East India Company officials and achieved prominence by inventing a mixture which fought malaria.

Does your foundation limit its purview to any specific age group or section of the society?

I think our society needs to be much more sensitive towards the safety, health and welfare of senior citizens. I have learnt it the hard way seeing the way my father was treated in an established private nursing home and I realized that people need to be more educated, informed and aware of how to treat senior citizens who not only need medical care but also treatment in a humane manner. Our society needs to treat senior citizens with dignity and respect.

Tell us more about 'Engage India Foundation'.

EIF is an independent, not-for-profit Trust which will provide a forum for discussing and actively addressing issues and challenges in healthcare, social issues and will strive for reforms in these areas through informed, educated and meaningful debate and discussion as well as engagement among different sections of society and various stakeholders. It will also seek to promote culture and heritage.

What are its objectives and your immediate plan of action?

One of the main objectives of Engage India Foundation (EIF) is to make people aware and informed about issues and challenges in healthcare and social welfare and ultimately to impact policy. The Foundation will also try to nurture creative excellence and respect talent. It will thus actively try to bring about social change by undertaking several healthcare, social welfare, cultural projects and programmes and try to impact policy at the Centre and in the State. EIF also wishes to bring young people into senior citizens lives and thus bridge the generational divide. Those of us who have been fortunate to be close to our grandparents will understand the need and importance of the presence of senior citizens in the lives of young people and vice versa.

The journey so far…

EIF's beautiful journey began on 5th December, 2014 with the inauguration and its first programme which was a free Health Check-up Camp for 41 underprivileged senior citizens supported by KPC Medical College at Calcutta Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology (CMIG) which has been accredited as the Regional Resource and Training Centre on Ageing by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. EIF also distributed food packets and shawls among the senior citizens. Justice Chittatosh Mukherjee and Producer Satrajit Sen inaugurated the programme. The event was covered by a leading Bengali new channel, 24 Ghanta and Times of India. The Engage India Foundation Facebook page received over 200 likes in two days. We are happy.....our journey has begun!


Health Check-up camp for underprivileged senior citizen

A lot of the foundation's initial undertakings have been covered by leading dailies of Kolkata.

Yes, indeed. At Joyjeet Das Memorial School - Engage India Foundation was blessed to be a part of the childrens' happiness by donating pencil boxes which were distributed as Christmas gifts by Santa at the school. The major highlight of the month was EIF's participation in the 6 Km Ananda Run at the Kolkata Marathon on 28 December to promote the cause of good health and exercise among people which was covered by the Telegraph Metro.

Adwitiya Dawn

“The Healing Touch ”                                   Up

Dr Rupali Basu is CEO - Eastern Region of Apollo Hospitals India. She has been in healthcare for over two decades. She did her medical degree from R G Kar Medical College, Kolkata, and opted for the challenging field of healthcare management. She completed her Post Graduation in Health & Hospital Management from Delhi University and Harvard University. She is the President of Association of Hospitals in Eastern India and Chairperson of the Health care Sub Committee of CII ER and a member of National Healthcare Committees of CII & FICCI. She regularly speaks in Hospital Management Asia and Healthcare World Asia and other Industry Forums on Healthcare policy matters.

Under her leadership, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata, has reached many new heights and achieved new milestones in healthcare services in Eastern India. It is still the only hospital in entire Eastern, North-Eastern India to be accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI) of USA in 2009 and has been again re-accredited in 2012. Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Kolkata has become the First hospital in India to get the coveted ISO 22000:2005 - HACCP certification by British Standards Institution of UK for its Food & Beverages Department and also to have received the Integrated Management System Certification for ISO 14001:2004 & ISO 50001:2011 to achieve a structured, coordinated and integrated approach to managing Environment and Energy under her guidance. .

Apollo Gleneagles Cancer Hospital, Eastern India's first comprehensive cancer care hospital is another milestone, equipped with the - Novalis Tx Unit with BrainLAB, Chemo-therapy Unit, Onco-Surgical Unit, Bone Marrow Transplant Unit with specialized wards. She has been instrumental in introducing advance cutting edge technology in the region like Robotic Surgery System, Navigational surgeries, 128 slice PET CT, MRI- HIFU, Holmium and other Lasers, PACS etc.

Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals has been consistently rated as No. 1 Hospital in Kolkata by the Week-Hansa Best Hospital Survey for the last consecutive six years. AGHL has won many awards and accolades during these years at various national and international forums including several HMA awards and the first Porter Prize for Strategy in Hospitals in India. A deft executive, she is extremely focused and is driven by reaching clinical excellence, operational and financial targets. Her experience abroad has given her an edge to bring the global expertise back home. She stresses on quality teamwork and doctor engagement so as to provide the 360 degree service to the patients.

Dr. Basu feels the United States is the place for hospitals. "There I learnt that a pharmacist can actually strike off a doctor's order because it's the pharmacist who is really qualified to talk about drug-drug reaction or dosage of medicines. In our system, where doctors are considered god, this doesn't work because we think doctors can make no mistakes." She was fascinated to see how nurse managers handled the entire hospital in the US. And then she met the word that would go on to define her career as a hospital manager - "quality". More specifically, indicators of good quality care.
"We never even understood 'quality' here when I studied quality in Harvard. Even today it's not a subject here. But it's a huge subject. Fortunately, when I am working with the Apollo Group, or before that with Wockhardt, my chairmen actually allowed me to implement those learnings." Today Apollo is a JCI-accredited hospital. What that means is that Apollo follows the same laws, rules, standards and indicators that American hospitals have.
"I don't think people here even understood that till a few years back. But in the last four-five years, we've made good progress... with NABH coming in about six years back. That is the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers," Dr. Basu explained. People, she says, now understand the language of quality that she has been speaking about for 15 years.
"Door-to-balloon time, or door-to-OT time... 'What is she talking about?' they would say. If a chest pain patient comes to your emergency, how quickly you can take that patient for angioplasty or a procedure to make sure that the heart muscles are not dead is very important. There is a standard for within how many minutes you are supposed to do that."

Woman on Top

"I feel that your personal character and your attributes are directly responsible for how you manage yourself in the professional field. If you have certain basic things in place, like differentiating between good and bad, right and wrong, then you'll be okay. My philosophy of life never changed, whatever success came my way," she said. "I have never faced any bias or any problem like men not listening to me. I think I have had the right attitude, I think I have said the right things, and said them in the right tone, backed by a lot of data."


Dr. Rupali Basu

The IIE formula
We requested Rupali to share with us three tips for would-be managers.
Intelligence: Knowledge is very important. You need to know what you are doing. You need to know your role, you also need to understand beyond the role, how your job impacts others. Managers don't just look into their own thing, they look into the team. You need to put in a lot of research, a lot of understanding. We call it JDJS - job description and job specification. But often we don't put in our own bit of knowledge to the JDJS that is given to us. Integrity: To me the right thing, the good thing is very important. Those should be uninfluenceable, unchangeable in life. It's even more important in your worklife because here you are actually a part of something else. You are not just responsible for yourself, you are influencing others. So you need to be extremely focused on integrity.
Energy: You must be focused, you must put in more hours than others, you must have very high standards and you must go beyond what others are doing. Unless you do that additional bit, you won't make a good manager. The tendency is to do a bit less than others once you become a manager. It's very easy to sit back and let things happen, especially in Bengal. But I think it's very important to have that bucket of extra energy so that you can do more.


Anindita Basu