Fellow Since 1996
This profile was prepared when Abhay Shukla was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Abhay Shukla, a medical doctor, seeks to generate rural-based and easily sustainable health care programs in relatively short periods of time within the context of an existing people's organization. The rationale for this is both organizational economies of scale (there is no need to recreate infrastructure or to re-establish trust and credibility) and the fact that health problems do not exist in isolation and are best handled as part of the overall development effort. Dr. Shukla's work in facilitating the formation and sustainability of the construction worker cooperatives at the Indian Institute of Science at Kanpur gave him insight into the dynamics, possibilities, and limitations of developing mass-based organizations. He realized that too much effort had been spent in getting people together to initiate a health program. He identified existing mass organizations as a potential human resource, trained and skilled, and ready to assist with health care management. His program brings together medical and training professionals to provide health-related support for mass movements and to help engender a number of health programs in existing mass organizations. With this professional support structure in place, these organizations then identify significant public health opportunities that they can manage directly. Their well-tuned advocacy skills, in particular, are directed at the public health systems accountable to suggest better allocations of resources and to demand more effective service delivery.