Managing ‘Risk’

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Almost everyone is concerned about ‘managing risks’. In the worth-celebrating movie ‘Wednesday’ there was a reference to how anyone heading out of home in the morning would be worried about whether he would come back safe in the evening. The number of mishap’s which could happen would range from accidents to street rage to terrorist outfall to an unknown catastrophe. The dependent family members are bound to be worried for the person who ventures out. The safety parameter within the household is also under a cloud. The lack of a network to attend to a medical catastrophe is so definitive that various families have a protocol of cross checking through the day.

What is said in preceding lines cannot be news to anyone. The difficulty, however, is that in the inability to come to grips with a problem, there is a tendency to circumvent it. Hence the problem doesn’t get sorted out.
Indeed, some have exercised the choice of confronting the problem even if it means straining the personal relationships, but then this is not institutionalization. Decoding this to an organizational level is even a bigger task.
The bald truth is that the risks which organization run at the level of simple efficiency is a far bigger danger to their productivity and profitability then perhaps anything else.

Organizations are replete with illustrations of how people will not do a simple job on time and with characteristic Indian ingenuity produce a whole clutch of reasons which would explain what prevented them from doing so. This concern does not figure-to the best of the knowledge of this writer- in the broadest of listings of items which come under risk management!
The upshot is, like it is seepage beneath the walls, and it corrodes the foundations silently till one day the wall itself collapses. The more talked of areas of risks include everything from exchange risks to issues in industrial relations. It’s all because it enables a programmed mitigation.

The risks to life and limb however are not confined to corporate sector alone and covers the entire gamut of the act of living itself.

Thus it is that trauma care has become an increasingly important part of healthcare and some figures will highlight the significance of the issue. India’s total landmass is 32, 87,263 square kilometer. This is broadly 2.4% of the surface area of the world. The nature of habitation can be figured out on this base. Injury is the third commonest cause of death in all ages. It costs 3% GDP. With baseline being taken as 1990 the number of deaths from injury was 5.1million. The projected figures by 2020 is supposed to be touching 8.4 million. Add to it disabilities arising out of injuries and one can figure out the magnitude of not only lives affected but also the families put in jeopardy. The fatalities in the age bracket of 15 to 44 have been listed at 50%. As per records, in 1998 alone, in the WHO region it was estimated that 1.2 million people were killed in road traffic injuries. The deaths by cancer and heart disease were several times smaller. If one calculates the year of productive life lost injury, singly, was responsible of 40.8%. All other diseases accounted for 24.8% deaths, heart disease for 16.4% and cancer for 18%.

The figures speaks for themselves. The number of road deaths in India in 2005 was 98,254 in 2014 it was 1,41,526. Taking 2005 as the base the rise was up by 2.99%. Deaths from accidents rose from 2,57,936 from 2002 to 4,31,556 in 2014.

Rail road accidental deaths in 2014 were up by 95.37% compared to the preceding year. Need one say more we have the dubious distinction of recording the highest number of deaths in RTA in the world that is 14per hour and we have not even begun to talk of terrorist related injuries.

As one looks around the absence of trauma care facilities across the board through such hospitals as exists in India, need more be said?

We hear of so many missions. One is entitled to ask what any mission higher than preserving life is.

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