Wednesday, June 19

New Company Brings Healthcare to India’s Poor

Team surgeon at work in operatingWe’ve seen the American healthcare system make leaps and bounds in recent years. Planned Parenthood does wonderful things for low-income families, and urgent care facilities see three million patients per week for much cheaper than the ER. But it’s been a while since we’ve heard a truly good thing about taking care of the world’s poor.

Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty is an Indian philanthropist, cardiac surgeon and is the Chairman of Narayana Health in Bangalore. Thanks to his work through Narayana Health, he has been able to bring healthcare to India and was recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal for the care he provides across the world.

Shetty had humble beginnings in a small village before moving on to study in the UK. In 1989, he returned to India and operate on Mother Teresa after she had a heart attack. He served as her personal physician from there forward.

Shetty founded Narayan Health in 2000 to help provide healthcare services the poor. He is often compared to Henry Ford for the way he brought heart surgery to India.

In India, 12% of all heart surgeries are performed by Narayana, which has 32 hospitals in 20 locations. Their mission is providing affordable care to India’s poor.

In the future, Shetty plans to put locations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The only hospital outside of India where Narayana operates so far is in the Cayman Islands.

The unique part about Narayana is that they are there specifically to serve the poor. One hospital in Bangalore is able to perform 60 major heart surgeries in just one day, attracting people from 76 countries, with an average of 37 surgeries each day.

Their biggest investment has been the infrastructure. This is because they are using these hospitals for 14 to 15 hours every single day. The volume they deal with is unheard of there.

Narayana also serves as an academic center; they teach heart surgeons, cardiologists, perfusionists and nurses. In total, they have 79 training programs, so half of their workforce is unpaid, due to their intern status.

Another unique facet of this company is that they’ve created other jobs in India. They needed disposable gowns for surgeries, so a local business began producing them, and they currently export to places around the world.

Narayana uses a microhealth-insurance scheme going by the name Yeshasvini Microhealth Insurance. Farmers pay 11 cents per month for insurance and can go to any of the 400 linked hospitals for care. This has made healthcare affordable, something almost unheard of for India’s poor.

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