PAR­A­DIGM SHIFT

APOLLO HOS­PI­TALS | ES­TAB­LISHED IN 1983

India Today - - STATES - —Amar­nath K. Menon

LOOK­ING FOR A CURE

When Apollo Hos­pi­tals started op­er­a­tions on Septem­ber 18, 1983 , it marked the en­try of cor­po­ra­tised health­care in In­dia, an in­no­va­tion the health­care in­dus­try was des­per­ately in need of. Over the years, Apollo has taken health­care to the dis­tant un­der­served cor­ners of the coun­try through in­no­va­tion, tech­nol­ogy and com­mit­ment. To­day, the group has emerged as a fore­run­ner of in­te­grated health­care in Asia and is even listed on the Na­tional Stock Ex­change.

The fore­most chal­lenge in set­ting up ‘a pri­vate hos­pi­tal’ was reg­u­la­tory ap­proval and rais­ing fi­nance. “The pro­tag­o­nist in many ways,” says Apollo founder Dr Prathap C. Reddy, was former prime min­is­ter Ra­jiv Gandhi who sup­ported sev­eral pro­pos­als “at a time when banks were not al­lowed to lend to hos­pi­tals in the 1980s”. Reddy wrote an au­da­cious let­ter to the prime min­is­ter on how he wished he had set up a brew­ery rather than a hos­pi­tal and pointed out how hos­pi­tals had to be funded like any other in­dus­try. It set into mo­tion a chain of events that led to the recog­ni­tion of pri­vate health­care as a cor­po­rate en­tity. This has fu­elled the growth of the sec­tor which to­day is es­ti­mated to touch $160 bil­lion by 2017-end and $280 bil­lion by 2020.

CARE TO­MOR­ROW

While ex­pand­ing its net­work in In­dia and abroad, Apollo is fo­cus­ing on re­mote health, re­search and in­no­va­tion. It is also part­ner­ing with many gov­ern­ments to up­grade and man­age their pri­mary health cen­tres.

M ZHAZO

CAR­ING HANDS Dr Prathap C. Reddy with staff at Apollo, Chen­nai

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