India Now - page 52

Global Healthcare at
Local Rates
Glocal Healthcare
Systems has perfected the formula for
providing quality low-cost secondary and
primary healthcare to underserved rural
uality private healthcare
need not necessarily be
expensive, or only avail-
able in urban centres. Wrong! At
least for most of us who have not
heard of Glocal Healthcare Sys-
tems, a social enterprise that has
made it its mission to take afford-
able healthcare to rural areas of
India. Founded by doctor turned
Indian Administrative Officer
turned social entrepreneur, Dr
Syed Sabahat Azim, Glocal got its
fundamental rights when it opted
for a no-frills approach to quality
healthcare. Launched in July 2010,
Glocal Healthcare Systems began
its journey with a small hospital
in Sonamukhi, West Bengal, in
July 2011. Within six months, the
venture broke even, proving the
sustainability of the development
driven hospital model. “Develop-
ment has to be sustainable and
people must have a stake in every-
thing,” says Dr Syed Sabahat
Azim, Chief Executive Officer,
Glocal Healthcare Systems.
The venture’s success was thus
never in doubt, backed as it was
by this conviction of Dr Azim,
whose on ground involvement in
launching Sahaj e-Village, a SREI
Group initiative, had given him
practical insights into rural India.
Dr Azim had quit the IAS where
he was last serving as the secre-
tary to the Tripura Chief Minister,
to work with SREI which was
working with the Government of
India under the National e-Gover-
nance Plan (NeGP) to build rural
IT infrastructure in the country.
Sahaj e-Village, launched in 2007,
was aimed at setting up Common
Service Centres (CSCs) in six
states. Dr Azim went on to set up
18,000 CSCs along with the team
and in the course of this mara-
thon exercise, identified a deeply
felt need at the rural level for qual-
ity and affordable healthcare.
“What we saw in rural and small
town India was the lack of health-
care. If someone falls sick, they sell
land or borrow money because life
is very important. We sat with
Damodaran and created Glocal
Healthcare. It would work to bring
down the cost of treatment, to
bring rationality to healthcare. To
make rural healthcare sustainable,
we are opening hospitals so that
rural people get treatment in near-
by areas.” M Damodaran, former
Chairman of Securities and
Exchange Board of India (Sebi),
took charge as Chairman of the
He quit SREI with some of his
fellow visionaries to fill this lacuna.
The other reason for his floating
Glocal Healthcare Systems was per-
sonal—the passing away of his
father due to the existing health-
care system. That set him thinking
about the plight of those less fortu-
nate than people like him. The
affordable hospital chain was
launched with an initial capital of
Rs 1 crore pooled by the founders
Dr Syed Sabahat
is the Founder
and CEO of Glocal
Healthcare Systems
Pvt Ltd. He is also
the former CEO of
Srei Sahaj e-Village
Ltd. A trained
medical doctor
and IAS officer, his
last posting was
as the Secretary to
the Chief Minister
of Tripura. He quit
the IAS to work
at perfecting the
service delivery
model at the
grassroots. Glocal
is his attempt to
address the rural
healthcare needs.
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