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A visionary in healthcare

Natalia Ahmed
Filed on November 13, 2019
Engr Sobhi A Batterjee, Group President and Founder of the Saudi German Hospitals Group

Engr Sobhi A Batterjee is a leader with passion, vision, and determination

"If there is vision, passion, determination and along with hard work, the success will follow you." This is Engr Sobhi A Batterjee, a man who is different and unique, and we cannot describe him in just one word. He is a leader who thrives on setting a benchmark in the healthcare industry in the GCC and endeavours to pyramid the healthcare standards of the region at the global level.

A strong personality with a clear vision for the organisation and industry, he is innovative in introducing and shouldering the responsibility to bring in the latest technology and standard of care to the region. As a risk-taker, he shows the courage to do things on a different path in order to accomplish his vision.

A passionate thinker, he shows concern for the people and for society at large, and is always eager to explore and improve the lives of the community as an engineer working in the healthcare industry.

At a first glance, he looks firm and fearless; when we interact and get closer, we realise the other face of Engr Batterjee, a simple man who is down to earth, loves to listen to others, and find happiness in small things in life. He is very concerned about the society as a whole and is a person with a strong faith. A great leader to his colleagues and loving father to his family.

The story of Engr Batterjee, with Saudi German Hospital, started in 1988, when he began the first hospital in Jeddah - Saudi Arabia at the young age of 38.

He built Saudi German hospital under Bait Al Batterjee Medical Company when the group expanded operations of Saud Arabia, was consolidated under Middle East Healthcare Company (MEAHCO) and is the largest public listed healthcare company ever in Saudi Arabia.  Through his hard work, determination, and passion, the group expanded in the region to what we see today.

Currently, the Saudi German hospitals have grown as the largest healthcare provider in the region with ten hospitals in Jeddah, Aseer, Riyadh Madinah, Hail - Saudi Arabia, Sana'a - Yemen, Cairo - Egypt and Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman - UAE, along with a clinic in Dubai. Various medical cities and hospital projects are under different stages of completion that include Egypt, UAE, KSA, Morocco, Pakistan, and more.

Engr Batterjee is inspired by the verse from the Holy Quran,  "And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. Al-Maidah (32)".

His vision for the group is to be the regional healthcare provider through the largest network of hospitals, delivering excellence in quality of care to patients, and creating value for all stakeholders. Batterjee believes that access to the quality healthcare is the birthright of any citizen, in view with this he set the challenging the group a vision to expand to Asia and North Africa.

All Saudi German hospitals are JCI accredited, which is the gold standard in the healthcare industry. The hospitals are also CAP-accredited and focused on patient-centered care.

Under the leadership of Batterjee, the Saudi German Hospital Group is one of the unique healthcare players in the region and globally with the capability to design, build, construct and operate the hospitals at the same time. The group mainly focus on greenfield projects, which give flexibility, competitive advantage, and the ability to expand horizontally and vertically as per the need.

This is done through the International Healthcare Construction Company (IHCCO), founded by Engr Batterjee, which specialise in designing and constructing hospitals.

As a global healthcare leader, Batterjee believes in building a healthy and educated generation, for which medical education is the key. As a part of this, he established the Batterjee Medical college in Saudi Arabia which is the largest private medical college in the Kingdom, with the facility to admit 1600 students every year. 

Over these years, due to his hands-on experience, hard work, and interaction with the global leaders and regulators, he is not only known as a businessman in the region; he is accepted and respected as a philosopher, visionary and thought leader.

Batterjee is a firm believer in succession planning, endorsement of the business to the young generation, and lifelong continuity of the business. Rather than wait until the last moment, he is working with his son, Makarem, on multiple projects, acclimatising him to business partners and practices, and passing the torch over a number of years.

Batterjee has built a legacy through the Bait Al Batterjee Group, building the Group as one-stop-shop for all healthcare supplies through 16 companies including hospitals, constructions division, medical education, fitness, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and distribution, veterinary care, healthcare IT division, healthcare investment division, etc.

He believes in macro-management and decentralisation of authority. However, when it comes to patient care and experience, he believes in micromanagement, which is why when you visit any SGH hospitals, and you can see the names and mobile numbers of the management team, including Batterjee himself.

The idea behind providing personal details is twofold; the first being that he is a leader who is personally available 24/7, who responds and resolves issues instantly, the second being that staff members are more responsible and accountable for their actions.

With such availability comes transparency; it is no longer possible to be unfair to patients or circumvent procedure when the man at the top is available to all. Staff members now must be more responsible, more attentive, and more hands-on. Working at SGH requires passion, dedication, and commitment; the rewards are reaped when you realize just how much you help the broader community without focusing on money alone.

The biography, A Road to Success, of Engr Batterjee address the six pillars to be successful in life. It highlights ideas and goals; having a clear written plan; declaring the goal; prayer, worship, Doaa (Blessings), and reading the Holy Quran; taking steps towards the goal; and daily lifestyle.

This book is not just a literary contribution; instead, this is what Engr Batterjee practices in his life.  Through this book, he narrates that when we have a higher goal, the Almighty will always help us to achieve these goals. He encourages the young generation to go read and practice the book to be successful in life.

He has managed to move forward, from local to regional, and focusing to go global. "We're a different organisation that has a sensitive part here (gestures to heart)," he says when asked about the business he runs, highlighting the uniqueness of his healthcare group. A true humanitarian with a head for business, he has managed to grow the SGH Group through determination, creativity, and innovation.


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