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April - May 2004


Business Forum

Health Care In India: The Pot Of Gold Beckons

by P. Venkataramana


It is not widely known that INDIA is still the land of opportunities …Starting from the days of the British colonisation by the then East India Company, enterprising people had always profited from their explorations into the eternal land of great opportunities…Even in this day and age of the modern era in which the world has become one small marketplace, INDIA figures ahead of many other countries in being a haven for business-enterprises: gone are the days of red-tapism and closed-doors to foreign investments and recent Governments have spelt out policies which are more pragmatic and quite friendly to the overseas investors & collaborators …!

Of specific interest to the current investment scenario is the Indian Health Sector: a most promising avenue indeed for the discerning investors from Europe, USA & the Gulf region …RIVLIN INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, a UK-based pioneer in the Health Care Industry worldwide, since several decades has undertaken an extensive study of the potential & prospects for good investments to be made in INDIA, especially in the Health - care Sector .The findings have vindicated the long standing belief that the Third World's greatest nation richly merits a closer examination by truly wealthy investors of infrastructure - development projects

INDIA has grown from strength to strength since its independence in 1947. Spending in the health-sector is a little over 5% of its gross domestic product in comparison to the 7% spent by developed nations. Life expectancy and infant-mortality rates have bettered; hospital facilities have improved manifold; health care awareness has increased; governmental health infrastructure has come to be supplemented in a big way by private Hospital-groups.
Thus, health-care is provided by a multitude of public as well as private 'players' in the economy. While the State infrastructure is large and widespread in the rural and remote parts of this seventh largest country in the world, private entrepreneurs cater to the urban regions. The quality standards are of a reasonably high level in recent times owing to the fact that most of these large groups are running the Hospitals with collaborations from advanced nations such as the USA & the UK.
The participation of the Western Health-care Groups has greatly influenced the quantum-leap in standards of efficiency, quality & nature of treatment-facilities as well as efficacious methods of treatment of different types of ailments. Added to this happy change is also the fact of quality medical education being provided at medical colleges run throughout the length and breadth of the country --- an adequate supply of quality manpower, especially doctors and para-medical staff has brought about the trend of finding Indian medical personnel manning key positions even in Hospitals, Hospices and Clinical facilities in advanced / developed nations. India has thus achieved a significant improvement in health-status.
However, it is significant to note that the delivery of quality health-care to a greater part of the vast population of INDIA is a sine- qua- non-for a proper appreciation of the State policy on Health-care. Unless the large untapped portions of the huge country which still suffers from an acute shortage of well-planned modern Hospital facilities is addressed by the host of investor-groups flocking to India, development on all other fronts, be it space-programmes or software development ,shall be rendered waste, in course of time. This ominous signal must herald the 'great new rush' into the Health-care sector of India.

However, it is significant to note that the delivery of quality health-care to a greater part of the vast population of INDIA is a sine- qua- non-for a proper appreciation of the State policy on Health-care. Unless the large untapped portions of the huge country which still suffers from an acute shortage of well-planned modern Hospital facilities is addressed by the host of investor-groups flocking to India, development on all other fronts, be it space-programmes or software development ,shall be rendered waste, in course of time. This ominous signal must herald the 'great new rush' into the Health-care sector of India.
RIVLIN INTERNATIONAL LIMITED has been a catalyst and made its foray by stimulating private investment in the Indian Health-care Sector. The priority-tag attached to this high-demand, high-growth industry has enabled a better access to institutional-lending and private-investments in specific areas of specialty-treatment such as for instance, Cardiac-care and Dental-care. Indirectly, already, this has also helped improve an otherwise inadequate infrastructure, which in turn helps meet an ever-rising demand for quality and reliable as well as efficacious medical attention. A network of Hospitals and Clinical-facilities manned by able medical personnel and scientific ways of management makes it a most cost-effective, affordable and popular business - proposition.
Investments by overseas groups in this sector of the Indian economy may be made in Hospitals (of whatever size and type), Medical Colleges, Nursing Schools and in Hospital Management Schools. It is reported that the country enjoys a mere 1.5 beds-per-thousand people ratio in provision of hospital-facilities, which indeed speaks of the huge potential available for the discerning Investor. The life expectancy is found to be 63 years only as against 78 years in developed countries. This certainly may be viewed against the purchasing---power and the spending -ability of the targeted population.

Invariably, rising costs (of treatment, equipment and consumables) along with the changing disease-profiles (increase in lifestyle-related diseases like cancer and cardiac arrests) and demographic factors (increase in population figures means a corresponding increase in the number of patients) shall fetch higher returns to the Investor. The areas of high spending are Casualty - accidents-Injuries, Maternity-care, Cancer, Cardiac care and acute gastro-intestinal infections. Changing lifestyles of the population against the backdrop of BPO - culture and international operations will certainly raise the expenditure-levels. The disease-groups that will drive most number of outpatient - cases are Cancer, Cardiac, CNS disorders, Musculoskeletal, Other circulatory sense organs, and Asthma.

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