Prayas Program

Partnership objectives

  1. Improve the quality of healthcare practice in rural India.
  2. Bridge the diagnosis-treatment gap.
  3. Introduce quality medicines at affordable price.

Experts’ specialties included chest medicine, cardiology, pediatrics, gastroenterology, diabetes, critical care, internal & community medicine. Experts’ specialties included chest medicine, cardiology, pediatrics, gastroenterology, diabetes, critical care, internal & community medicine. Copyright Sanofi India

What are the health needs and challenges?

In India, comparing health statistics of rural and urban areas shows great inequalities. Doctors in the interiors have limited or no access to the latest developments and updates. Their challenge is to remain updated through limited resources. One of vital areas for a primary care practitioner in rural India is emergency medicine (chest pain, snake bites, scorpion sting, seizures, and domestic injuries). These cases warrant early diagnosis, preliminary treatment and referral to higher centres.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges:

In 2009, Sanofi launched a two-pronged strategy to improve the quality of healthcare practices in rural India, aimed at empowering rural medical practitioners through a structured continuing education program across India.

Through Prayas (2009 – 2012), specialists from semi-urban areas shared latest medical knowledge, clinical experience and practical insights through structured workshops for general practitioners from smaller towns and villages in the interiors of India through a ‘mentor-mentee’ model.

The partnership with American College of Physicians and American College of Gastroenterology ensured quality of program content and provided certification of respiratory and gastroenterology modules respectively. At the time of initiation, Prayas knowledge modules were validated and certified by American College of Physicians and American Gastroenterology Association.

As Prayas developed further, the ‘Prayas Expert Groups’ were constituted which comprised India’s top 48 clinicians who validated the knowledge modules.

Four regional Prayas Expert Groups comprising top clinicians certified the content of emergency medicine modules and also helped in seeking regional/local collaborations.

Experts’ specialties included chest medicine, cardiology, pediatrics, gastroenterology, diabetes, critical care, internal & community medicine.

The trainers (mentors) travelled to rural clusters every 8-10 weeks and conducted training programs for primary care practitioners.

To complement this program, the Hoechst Business Unit, a Sanofi Unit, also launched a new range of quality medicines at affordable prices in these geographical areas. The product range helped address the challenges of accessibility, affordability and availability of quality medicines to patients in remote villages.

Lessons learned                           

The presentation & management of emergency cases in rural India varies considerably versus the western world, and this necessitates geographical customization of the modules, made by Prayas Regional Expert Groups. It was thus crucial to get as trainers, physicians that have hands-on experience in order to address practical issues and ensure customization of the program.

Summary of impact through December 2013 and forward looking information

A total of 6,200 such programs have been done since the inception of Prayas. As of 2011, 11,500 primary care practitioners and 564 trainers participated in the program.

In 2012, 940 workshops were conducted covering 7,548 doctors. The digital platform promotion was rolled out in December 2012 and between Dec ’12 – Jan ’13 the site had registered 1,400 hits based on google analytics report.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Sanofi

Partner(s) American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterology Association

Type of Partner(s) Professional Associations

Therapeutic Focus Women and Children's Health, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Other, Non-Communicable Diseases

Disease(s) Cardiovascular Diseases, Children's Health, Dengue, Diabetes, Hepatitis, Leishmaniasis, Pneumonia, Rabies, Respiratory Diseases, Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis, Surgical Care

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Health System Infrastructure - Training

Targeted Population(s) Health professionals, Marginalised / Indigenous People

Region(s) South Asia

Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) India

Start Date 2009

More information Sanofi Community Programs

Completed date 2013

« Sanofi launched Prayas in order to complement the Government’s efforts to extend healthcare access to the furthest corners of rural India. Prayas was a commitment to inclusive healthcare management in India. »

Aparna Thomas, Senior Director Communications & Public Affairs, Sanofi India Limited