Doctorpreneurship In Africa: What lessons can we learn from India?

By Hamza Asumah, MD

Healthcare has grown to be one of India’s most profitable and job-creating businesses. By 2022, India’s healthcare business might be valued $133.44 billion, a threefold rise. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, public healthcare spending in India in Budget 2021 was 1.2 percent of GDP.

Furthermore, the Indian Brand Equity Foundation reports that a growing middle class, as well as a rise in the prevalence of new diseases, is driving greater demand for health insurance coverage. In terms of demography, we are witnessing a similar trend across Africa. Health insurance penetration is predicted to expand in the next years due to rising demand for low-cost, high-quality healthcare.

In FY21, the gross direct premium income covered by health insurance firms in India climbed 13.3% year on year to US$ 7.9 billion. The health industry contributes to 29.5 percent of the country’s total gross written premiums. According to the most recent projections, the Indian medical tourism industry was valued at US$ 2.89 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to US$ 13.42 billion by 2026.

Photo by IBEF

Doctorpreneurship is a crucial component in India’s success stories. One well-known example is the founder and CEO of Apollo Hospitals. The Apollo Hospitals’ visionary Founder-Chairman, Dr. Prathap C Reddy, is widely considered as the father of modern Indian healthcare. He is best described as a loving humanitarian who has dedicated his life to bringing world-class healthcare to millions of people regardless of their economic or geographic conditions.

Photo by businessnewsthisweek

Apollo Hospitals began in 1983 as a 150-bed multi-specialty hospital and has now expanded to 71 hospitals with 12,000 beds across the country. The city has 3,400 pharmacies, more than 90 primary care clinics, and 150 diagnostic institutions. Continuous innovation, strategic alliances, and being purposeful at every stage of your vision’s evolution are all essential to attain this level of success. Dr. Prathap Reddy, a skilled cardiologist, has made his impact on the Indian healthcare industry.

After finishing his residency training, Dr. Prathap Reddy returned to India and realized that the country’s medical environment was beset with faults in infrastructure, delivery, and pricing. Apollo Hospitals, the institution he envisioned and built, ushered in a revolution in the Indian private healthcare industry. He did this in an economy that is comparable to that of many African nations. Apollo Hospitals provided international-level healthcare to India for a fraction of the cost of comparable treatments in the West. Why aren’t we doing more in Africa to bridge these gaps through innovation?

He was particularly shaken when he lost a young patient who lacked the financial resources to travel outside for a treatment that was still uncommon in India at the time. As a result of this, Dr. Reddy began putting together the design for India’s first multi-specialty private sector hospital, Apollo Hospitals.

Apollo_Hospital,_Indraprastha Photo by Wikipedia

The economies’ similarities provide fertile ground for carefully studying how these significantly modified concepts may be adopted into Africa’s economy. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with the Apollo group, and I must say that the amount of innovation and thinking that goes into their ideas and operations has a lot of practical applicability in Africa.

Since its inception, Apollo Hospitals has had the trust of over 150 million individuals from 140 countries. TLC (Tender Loving Care), the magic that instills hope in Apollo’s patients, is at the heart of their patient-centered culture. It’s up to you to make an educated guess. The magnitude of this monetary value has the potential to transform African economies. Diversification initiatives at Apollo Hospitals are clearly a well-thought-out system led by well-trained individuals with a synergy that has the power to make any concept into reality. In the story of how Indian healthcare has changed so dramatically in the last few years, there are three things worth imitating:

  1. Faced with real-world economic issues, doctopreneurs have come up with innovative healthcare solutions.
  2. On the road to sustainability and growth, form strategic alliances and collaborations.
  3. Expanding the scope of the company’s vision beyond the country’s borders

These are lessons that we as a continent can simply apply to reshape the healthcare sector of the African continent

Apollo Hospitals Dhaka – Photo by finddoctor24

In many respects, India’s economic structure parallels that of Africa, and we can see why we should consider the impact of healthcare programs and what feeds them. The growth in sicknesses, as well as the unlimited untapped potential in the healthcare industry, has resulted in a major economic revolution in India, with massive job opportunities for the country’s people. We cannot deny the parallels in the socioeconomic landscapes of India and Africa, and how viable it will be for our healthcare ecosystem to rethink how to reinvent through lessons learnt. To achieve this, we need to start thinking beyond our typical doctorpreneur set ups. Do you believe this is possible? Please leave a remark.

2 responses to “Doctorpreneurship In Africa: What lessons can we learn from India?”

  1. Interesting article. I agree we share a similar economic and health profile. How can we position ourselves to tap into this market.


    • I believe we need to start thinking across time and the boundaries of our industry just like India has done. Just as the challenges we have as a continent are not limited by time or boundaries, so should our solution. MY OPINION


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