Building a stronger and healthier India
As an Indian doctor turned entrepreneur in UAE, it makes me proud to witness the stature that India has built for itself on the world stage and we can expect the nation to be soon recognised as one of the major economic super-powers globally. This strength to move forward collectively as a democracy is derived from every citizen of the country, each of whom contribute to its progress in their own ways.
For this growth to continue, well-being of the citizens is essential and access to affordable and quality healthcare services is of extreme importance. This was also the thought process behind Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's vision for "Healthy India" under which many initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) - Ayushman Bharat have been introduced to make high quality healthcare easily accessible and affordable for masses.
As we celebrate the 73rd Indian Independence Day today, I applaud the efforts of Indian government and our people to put utmost priority to health and well-being. We have come a long-way and there is still further opportunity to shape the healthcare sector and ensure that good health and happiness of people becomes a key indicator for recognizing development. In UAE, we have already witnessed our visionary rulers identifying health and wellbeing of our people as a key indicator for happiness and country's progress.
For us at Aster DM Healthcare, we see this as an opportunity to contribute to India's growth story by continuing to cater to the health requirement of the masses. Through our 13 hospitals and 8 clinics in India we are providing primary to quaternary care and super-specialty services across 5 major States - Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh. We recognise the need to strengthen the roots for a healthy society and currently our aim is to significantly accelerate our presence in India as well as GCC. To this effect, two new large-scale hospitals have just started functioning in India: 302 bedded Aster MIMS Hospital in Kannur, Kerala and 250 bedded Aster RV Hospital in Bengaluru, Karnataka, both of them are multi-specialty quaternary care facilities providing state of art services.
Aster RV Hospital is our second facility in Bengaluru which has introduced specialty services through Centres of Excellence in Cardiac-Sciences, Neuro-Sciences, Gastro-Sciences, General and Laparoscopic surgery, Integrated Liver Care, Organ Transplant, among others. Located in JP Nagar, the hospital further strengthens our offering in Medical Value Tourism for patients visiting the city to seek quality treatment. Aster MIMS in Kannur, one of the most advanced facilities in North Kerala, would soon be fully operational with 5 Centres of Excellence, 15 Super-specialty departments and a team of highly experienced doctors providing holistic treatment with a multidisciplinary approach.
While the listing of Aster DM Healthcare in India in 2018 has strengthened our footprint, we remain committed to further strengthen our integrated offering locally and to this effect we are entering into diagnostics services with the launch of Aster Laboratories. The first two labs will be operational in Bangalore, while the target is to have 1 reference lab, 8 satellite labs and 13 patient experience centres in the 5 States where we already have a strong presence.
Our belief of profit being a by-product and not our purpose in healthcare continues to drive our efforts as an organisation to push boundaries of excellence and meet the needs of people who are less privileged than us. With this thinking, we launched the Aster Volunteers Global Programme on occasion of our 30th anniversary in 2017, with an aim to bridge the gap between people who would like to help with those in need. Today, it is running successfully across the 9 countries in which we are present, with 8300 volunteers coming from all walks of life and not exclusively from the medical field. Till date, the programme has been able to impact more than 1 million+ lives, including many who are residing in India. During the Kerala floods in 2018, it was our privilege to be able to serve the victims and contribute towards the rebuilding of the State through our Aster Homes project which is set to provide 250 homes to flood-affected families, many of which are in the process of being handed over. Similarly, our Aster Volunteers Mobile Clinic which is functioning across Jharkhand, New Delhi and Kerala is providing necessary healthcare services to the underprivileged in rural and remote areas.
As a leading healthcare group in GCC and India, we strongly believe that "a healthy society is a productive society'' and hence we remain committed to ensure health and well-being for all through enabling wider access to quality and affordable care.
Dr Azad Moopen is founder chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.