He wanted medical technology to be customized for treatment of masses.
APJ Kalam created Poor Man’s Stent to enter Hearts of Masses
New Delhi, July 28: Today’s technology- driven healthcare has jacked up the cost of treatment beyond the reach of poor and common patients. Late APJ Kalam, former President of India, famously nicknamed as missile man, wanted medical devices to be customized to cater to common patients.
APJ made great efforts to give the country cheaper medical options along with developing missiles for the country. Low cost coronary stent, which was named as Kalam-Raju stent, a medical device used to open the blocked artery of the heart, was his first common man’s medical device.
When this stent, costing barely 8 thousand rupees, was developed, stents were exorbitantly sold in the market. It would sell around one and half lakh rupees for the treatment of coronary artery disease, which was beyond the capacity of common patients. Though cardiologists of the country ‘stunted’ the development of this stent at the behest of multinational medical device companies, about 3000 patients, according to the sources of DRDO, still owe their hearts’ beat to APJ.
During his stint in DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), as its director, Kalam thought of customizing medical technology to cater to commoners too. In 1998, Dr Kalam with the aid of Dr Soma Raju developed ‘Kalam-Raju’ stent.
And it was the cruel irony of fate that the man who created a device for heart patients, died of cardiac arrest himself.
His Light Calliper Project also touched thousands of polio affected lives in India. It began in 1993 but it was such a tortuous project that it could not be completed while he was DRDO. But he did not lose sight of this when he moved on to become the defense advisor to the Prime Minister. He relentlessly kept tab on the progress and did not rest till it was ready. As many as 30,000 polio afflicted people benefited from the project.
APJ believed compassion should be the first component in a hospital. Technology should not be only a means for earning money; it must necessarily come to the aid of masses.