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Making healthcare affordable for masses

Muhammad Riaz Usman/dubai
Filed on June 16, 2018
Making healthcare affordable for masses
Our target market is the UAE population that earns less than $30,000 per year, says Shainoor Khoja.

(Supplied photo)

Shainoor Khoja's firm is disrupting the UAE's value healthcare sector

Having spent over 10 years as an owner and operator of multiple physiotherapy clinics in various countries, Shainoor Khoja, managing director and chief impact officer, Right Health, has a strong business background.

As a trained physiotherapist, Shainoor gained vital experience in her field by taking the initiative to start a range of practices and clinics in the UK, Canada, Pakistan and Poland.

In 2005, as the managing director, she led the Roshan Clinic team in Afghanistan to design the first corporate insurance scheme for Afghan employees.

"My initiatives in conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Syria have sprung from a single goal: to create sustainable development and opportunity. Launching products such as 'MPaisa' [the first mobile money transfer service] and 'Malomat' [mobile access to vital crop trade information for growers], both in Afghanistan, allowed me to address acute social problems with sustainable business solutions," says the social entrepreneur.

Shainoor has worked in Afghanistan, East Africa, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, Syria, Tajikistan, the United States and Zambia. Her passion for women, children, youth and lower-income communities drives her to launch initiatives across healthcare, technology, corporate social responsibility, education, entrepreneurial development and large-scale humanitarian response.

"Through these ventures, I honed my skills in identifying, operationalising and delivering strong revenue-generating businesses that also delivered impact," Shainoor explains.

"Joining hands with a high quality and impactful firm such as Right Health in the UAE was an obvious choice since it tackles the issue of access to quality and affordable healthcare to an underserved segment. It fit my personal mission well and I could contribute to Right Health's growth and impact through my past experiences," she continues.

Foundation Holdings, a multifamily strategic global investments firm focused on the healthcare, education and consumer sectors in the GCC and India, has invested in Right Health.

"We hold strong expertise and specialisation in healthcare. As we researched the UAE healthcare market for the next unicorn, it became clear that there was an opportunity to make a difference at the scale at the base of the pyramid. This is where our investment can become a catalyst for change and impact. Our target market for value-based healthcare is the approximately 30 to 40 per cent segment of the UAE population that earns less than $30,000 per year," Shainoor elaborates.

"Ongoing signature projects, Expo 2020, the increasing need for service and construction workers and the imminent implementation of mandatory insurance all provided a strong indication that investment in this segment was needed," she adds.

"Seeing this gap as an opportunity to give back, deliver social impact and build a strong business, Foundation Holdings launched Right Health in January 2018. Right Health is the largest and fastest-growing value healthcare organisation in the UAE and the pioneer of a movement to provide quality, affordable and accessible healthcare to the working-class population," she continues.

Shainoor says the UAE has been a first mover and a trendsetter in the region.

The problem of access to quality, affordable healthcare for the working population is not unique to this country. The entire GCC region has an identical need, therefore any positive impact in the UAE is likely to trigger similar adoption in the surrounding countries.

"In line with the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021 that seeks to establish a world-class healthcare system accessible to all, Right Health aims to deliver quality healthcare with four core objectives - prevention, efficiency, effectiveness and innovation," she says.

Shainoor says she is driven by using business as a force for social good. "Through this company, we not only contribute to improving the lives of the people who build our infrastructure and provide us with essential products and services but also help shape a thriving and progressive economy," she says.

The UAE is a $17 billion healthcare market, projected to grow by 11 per cent every year.

"We expect the implementation of mandatory insurance to generate additional revenue of $545 million per year," she continues.

At present, Right Health operates 31 entities across three emirates. It employs around 200 healthcare practitioners and support staff who treat approximately 450,000 patients and conduct 150,000 laboratory tests annually.

"In the coming years, we plan to expand our footprint to 51 centres through opening new clinics and acquiring existing businesses," she says.

Shainoor says gender diversity, as long as it is merit-based, is incredibly important. "A gender-balanced approach within an organisation is critical to its success. The UAE government is leading by example through promoting strong women to key leadership positions. Research indicates that female leaders help mobilise specific skills and behaviours that can deliver important business benefits," she says.

Foundation Holdings has a 7:3 male-to-female ratio, while at Right Health, women currently account for 35 per cent of employees. It has pledged to reach a 1:1 female-to-male ratio by 2021.

Shainoor says that in the UAE, the healthcare sector has a greater representation of women due to the nature of the sector.

"However, the situation can still be improved in terms of transforming the top order of organisations, where most of the key positions are still male-dominated. Certain sectors - such as finance and consulting, to name but two - will need to reassess their HR policies to better accommodate women in terms of family planning and flexible hours around childcare and elder care, and change behaviours that disadvantage women, such as holding work events at cigar lounges and emphasis on presenteeism at work. Our government has invested heavily in women and girls, at home as well as through its international aid agenda, setting a strong example for UAE companies to follow," Shainoor concludes.

- riaz@khaleejtimes.com


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