Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Cigna grant helps m-health programme in India

Steve Rogerson
December 1, 2014
A $260,000 grant is being used to create a mobile phone-based heart, stroke and kidney disease prevention programme in India, where chronic disease is responsible for more than 50% of deaths.

The Cigna Foundation awarded the World of Difference grant for this year to Arogya World, an India-headquartered non-profit company dedicated to preventing non-communicable diseases through health education and lifestyle changes. Arogya’s name in Sanskrit means “living without disease”.

“This programme is critically important to the health and economy of India,” said Nalini Saligram, Arogya World founder. She said half of India’s population of more than one billion people is under age 25, making mobile technology a perfect way to reach them.

“Supporting a programme that can help turn the tide on chronic disease in India and eliminate human suffering is a privilege for the Cigna Foundation,” said David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation.

Arogya’s first programme – mDiabetes (mHealth1.0) – was successful in helping approximately 150,000 people lead healthier lives. The Cigna Foundation grant will make possible the next phase of work, mHealth2.0, focusing on heart disease, stroke and kidney disease awareness and prevention. The grant will let Arogya develop content, build a mobile app to promote healthy living and measure programme effectiveness. The goal is to reach one million people in the next few years, and the new mHealth 2.0 programme and the organisation’s Healthy Workplace programme will play a significant part.

“We strongly believe in contributing to our society and take our corporate social responsibilities seriously," said Sandeep Patel, chief executive officer of Cigna TTK Health Insurance, Cigna’s joint venture in India. “We are happy to partner with Arogya World. The initiative directly aligns with our approach to the health insurance market in India, focusing on our customers’ health and well-being by proactively engaging with them to stay healthy and manage their health if they’re living with chronic conditions such as diabetes.”

Arogya is working with Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in the USA to develop the message content, Vignet in the USA to develop the mobile app and mHealth technology system, and Madras Diabetes Research Foundation in Chennai, India, to implement a randomised control trial in a workplace setting. As part of the grant, Cigna employees will help Arogya refine the mobile technology features for the disease prevention programme.