Focusing on neonatal and pediatric care, Dr. Sai involves stakeholders such as local governments, educational institutions, and private providers to address the gaps in public healthcare. Dr. Sai addresses the major governance and management failures responsible for the poor quality of care—namely drug supply, equipment maintenance, diagnostic capability, and manpower. Dr. Sai is also building a health and prevention-oriented system on the ground by educating communities and raising their agency in monitoring healthcare. These measures ensure the timely manner of quality health interventions. Her work in the rural areas have helped reduce infant mortality rate from 21 to 16 in a very short period of time, she told a cheering audience.
(Hyderabad, India: July 23rd, 2019) “Women face such situations in every field,” Jaya Prada, the popular Bollywood actor, said, while referring to sexual harassment in the fashion-filled movie world. “However, in Bollywood how one presents herself is very important. Many aspire to be in Bollywood where they face challenges and abuses. In politics too, women get targeted. You have to protect yourself and the way you handle each situation is very important.”
She suggested that the #MeToo Movement in India needs to be handled sensitively with a committee and need to be fast tracked for assessment and resolution. The award-winning Bollywood actor, called “the most beautiful face on the Indian screen” agreed to be “The Ambassador of AAPI in Women’s Empowerment.”
Bollywood actor Jaya Prada, was the keynote speaker at the Women’s Forum during the 13th edition of the Global Healthcare Summit of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) at the famous Taj Krishna Hotel in Hyderbad, India on July 22nd, 2019.
Organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) the Women’s Forum had a galaxy of successful women, who shared with the AAPI delegates their own stories of growing up and facing challenges with conviction and courage, and have today become role models for other women around the world.
Dr. Suresh Reddy, President of AAPI, in his opening remarks, highlighted the importance of Women’s Forum, which has come to be a much sought after event at every Convention and GHS.
Dr. Sajani Shah, Women’s Forum Cahir, moderated the panel discussion. In her address, she referred to The Me Too movement in India, which is a manifestation of the international Me Too movement that occurred in late 2018 in parts of Indian society including government, media, and the Bollywood film industry. Me Too began gaining prominence in India with the increasing popularity of the international movement, and later gathered sharp momentum in October 2018 in the entertainment industry of Bollywood, centered in Mumbai, when actress Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of sexual harassment, she said.
In her welcome remarks, Dr. Seema Arora, Co-Chairwoman of the Women’s Forum, highlighted the importance of the Women’s Forum at AAPI. Dr. Arora, who is an accomplished physician and the Chair of BOT of AAPI, introduced the Panelists to the audience.
Bollywood star turned politician, Jaya Prada, an Indian film actress and politician, is the recipient of three Filmfare Awards South and has starred in many Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi films, Dr. Arrora said.
Sharing her own experiences of being born and raised in a small town, Jaya Prada had dreams of becoming a doctor. Her mother enrolled her in dance and music classes when she was seven years old, in addition to going to a regular school. Her break in the film industry came when she was just 13 yrs old, which was a turning point in her life.
Jaya Prada pointed out that the reality is that we are still fighting for equality and safety. Women politicians in India are repeatedly targeted for their identity, is hardly a secret. Women are always at the receiving end of sexual innuendos and jibes at the behest of their male counterparts. The jibes are often on their looks, their clothes– they are victimized for their gender. “Women are highly vulnerable in politics. This not only weakens our democracy, but also the rights of women politicians.”
On the path to change in character, Jaya Prada said, “My characters in the movies have inspired me. India has inspired me. My meeting with Mother Teresa helped me how to reach and serve the needy.”
“I work with my heart but in politics need to work with mind. And that has been a challenge for me. That made me wise. Working with several politicians gave me a long vision about the nature of politics,” she said. “I joined politics to support and help the poor, whose sufferings I have personally witnessed. I am the example of how one could create a path for others in politics,” she said.
The popular Bollywood actress while addressing on Women’s Empowerment, pointed out, it an ongoing struggle for gender equality, equal ages, equal opportunities for education, and jobs and social standing. While acknowledging that things are getting better, she said, “There is still a long way to go. Women who lead the quest for equality, pave way for others.”
Dr. Anju Agarwal, a General Practitioner of Medicine in Sydney, Australia, with Special interest in Women and Children. She currently serves at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, is a Faculty Board area rep United India Association Women’s Steering Committee; Vice Chair area GP Network, and is an Executive member Australia.
Dr. Agarwal said, “Problems of women in Australia are the same as worldwide. “We always try to educate that women are not any less than men, but they are, if not more than men,” she said. “Women are different with unique qualities. They are born leaders as mothers caring and keeping everyone cohesive and together, appreciating others. These are leadership qualities that every woman has, making them born leaders in very family.”
In the medical field, one needs to stand for herself, Dr. Agarwal said. In cases of abuses reported in Australia there are parts of the departments that were completely closed. She told Medical students and Fellows and Doctors to “Take a stand and do what is right in the face of sexual harassment.”
Dr. Sailakshmi Balijepalli, a winner of several national and local awards, is a former pediatrician, shared with the audience about her work in seeking to reduce the child mortality rate among the most poor by raising their access to quality healthcare. To achieve this, she is linking communities, schools, universities, and public providers to public healthcare in order to build health awareness, enhance health seeking behaviors and make care inclusive, accountable, and effective.
“While there exists a large network of government hospitals in India, they are failing to provide quality, timely care to patients, especially to children, because of inefficient management and lack of transparency,” she pointed out. Dr. Sai is building a supportive and educational system that proves minimal investments in administrative and management practices can significantly improve health outcomes.
“Watching mothers sitting in hospital, with faith and care and love, especially when there is not enough money to pay for expensive healthcare for her children is truly inspiring,” she said.
While advocating for holistic approach to healthcare needs, she stressed that it would to make lives better and help build self esteem. “Women need to take care of self before taking care of others, she said.” She stressed the need on training the next generation to be ready to face the world. “Show the kids it’s a world of equality to both men and women,” she said.
Ms. Sangita Reddy, the Joint Managing Director of the Apollo Hospitals Group, guides the IT and Human Resources functions and is greatly responsible for evolving the patient-centric culture, a signature of the organization. Passionately committed to transforming healthcare using effective and efficient technology, she steered Apollo Hospitals to harness technological advancements in accelerating positive transformation.
A passionate entrepreneur, Sangita founded Apollo Health Street in 1999, which soon grew to emerge as India’s largest health business process outsourcing organization. Committed to building a more inclusive healthcare ecosystem in the nation, she championed the creation of SACHi (Save a Child’s Heart Initiative) which supports diagnostics and treatment of underprivileged children ailing with congenital heart diseases.
Inspired by her father, Dr. Prathap C Reddy’s mission to bring healthcare within the reach of every individual, Sangita Reddy formally joined Apollo Hospitals in 1983. Widely acknowledged as the pioneer of private healthcare in India and a proponent of integrated healthcare, Apollo Hospitals has touched the lives of over 150 million individuals from 140 countries.
Ms. Reddy spoke passionately about the Zero Tolerance Policy of the Apollo Group against sexual abuse of women in the company who constitute 60 percent of its total employees. Addressing the audience on Sexual Harassment and the #MeToo Movement, Ms. Reddy said, “Having a large women staff, it is very important to create a culture to have a safe environment with zero tolerance for any type of abuse.”
She pointed to her company’s discrete and confidential ways with external social workers to whom they can confide of their experiences of abuses, has helped women to come forward to report and have their concerns addressed without having the fear of being retaliated.
Ms. Reddy urged women to rise up to the occasion, and be fearless in reporting of any type of abuses which helps in empowering them to lead and play critical roles. “Having a strong commitment and having concrete plans to address the issues will help make a change in the world,” she said.