DHAN Foundation, based in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, was a non-government organization with a difference. It was neither a philanthropic organization nor a service organization but a development organization focused on grassroots development aided by professional management.
This series of cases focuses on DHAN’s journey in the realm of healthcare, tracing the genesis and evolution of its community health efforts, particularly during the first decade of its existence (1997 to 2007), and describing the challenges the Foundation faced along the way and its responses to those challenges.
Set in 2007, this case seeks to synthesize the decade-long experience of DHAN in the realm of healthcare. M. P. Vasimalai (Vasi), DHAN’s Executive Director, is tasked with making an important presentation to the Prime Minister and a team of government officials. Obviously, the good work of DHAN in this arena had not gone unnoticed. In preparing his presentation, Vasi must journey through DHAN’s experience and the dilemma it is grappling with: whether to continue its healthcare interventions on a project-by-project basis or adopt a holistic healthcare model, bringing together its multiple and diffused healthcare-related initiatives under a common canopy for ease of administration and to derive the benefits of synergy.
• Creating a nuanced and insightful appreciation of the differences between viewing healthcare as a commercial service provided by professional organizations and as a public service that is required to be provided to all the needy at affordable rates, as well as the corresponding economic and social implications.
• Bringing out the imperative need for evolving holistic healthcare models going beyond the current emphasis on high-cost curative care.
• Exploring the value and relevance of the strategy of emergence during times of increasing uncertainty and growing complexity.