Health critical

Health critical

Keeping more people healthy in the hinterlands is a compelling business proposition.

India's consumption-driven middle class has a battle on its hands controlling blood sugar, cholesterol and fat even as it raises a toast to economic growth with cola and imported grog.

In rural India, where liposuction is as alien as chicken pot pie, millions are struck down by diarrhoea, tuberculosis and pneumonia year after year.

Need of the hour: Capitalism with compassion. In the next few pages, you will read tales of incredibly-driven entrepreneurs running immensely viable ventures that deliver specialised therapies upcountry in an affordable manner. Keeping more people healthy in the hinterlands is a compelling business proposition.

Perhaps even more compelling than repairing an urban Joe's receding hairline.

The compassionate capitalist
A doctor brings cancer care closer to those who need it most.

Dr B.S. Ajai Kumar

Dr B.S. Ajai Kumar
Founder, HealthCare Global
Vision: To make specialised, high-tech cancer care accessible to all while being conscious of financial compulsions of needy patients
Challenge: Getting doctors and nurses specialised in cancer care in Tier II and Tier III locations
An ideal business model in health care is one that is viable even as it seeps into all sections of society. Dr. B.S. Ajai Kumar may have just got it right with his specialised cancer care venture, HealthCare Global, a one of a kind huband-spoke model for cancer treatment. Set up in 2005, it has 20 centres in India, one in Laos and another in Uganda.

Most of the India centres are in Tier II and Tier III towns. These treatment 'spokes' take care of most of the patients' needs - from basic diagnosis to surgery - whilst patient records and treatment are evaluated at its Bangalore headquarters. Dr Kumar's objective is to provide specialised, high-tech care even to patients who cannot afford it. HealthCare Global allows such patients to pay in equated monthly instalments based on their financial ability without any interest or collateral. Over 1,000 patients have availed of this scheme so far, says the company.

HealthCare Global expects to end the current financial year with Rs 275 crore in revenues, up from Rs 175 crore last year. Let's call this compassionate capitalism.

-E.Kumar Sharma