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Gramin Health Care to raise funds for expanding in rural areas

Virendra Pandit | | Updated on: Apr 13, 2018

Primary objective of GHC is to provide family doctors to farmers’ using technology, and also help them get health insurance cover

Gramin Health Care (GHC), India’s leading primary healthcare provider in rural areas, is expecting its turnover of Rs 1 crore in 2017-18 to quintuple to Rs 5 crore in 2018-19.

GHC plans to raise significant amount of funds from investors in the next two months, with the objective to at least double its reach to five lakh members of farmers’ families by the end of 2018.

“We are in talks with potential investors and hope to get fresh funding in the next 60 days,” Ajoy Khandheria, entrepreneur-evangelist and founder, GHC, told BusinessLine on Thursday.

Impressed with its work, the Indian Farmers’ and Fertilizers Cooperative Ltd (IFFCO) had bought 26 per cent stake in GHC in April 2017. “We have a low-cost model and don’t need much funds,” he said, while declining to reveal the amount of funds sought at this stage.

He said the company was managing funds so far from its internal sources. “But to scale up operations, we need funds. We are also looking at how the Union Government’s recently announced National Health Protection Scheme (a universal healthcare scheme also nicknamed “Modicare”) unfolds this year and how we can create synergies with it.”

Khanderia said the primary objective of GHC is to provide family doctors to farmers’ using technology, and also help them get health insurance cover.

This is being done with IFFCO’s partnership with plans to embed primary healthcare centres (PHCs) or brick-and-mortar kiosks at their planned IFFCO Bazar Centres at nearly 1,000 locations across India. So far, the IFFCO-GHC joint venture has opened over 50 operational kiosks within IFFCO Bazars in Tier 3 and 4 places.

Founded in April 2016, GHC envisions to become a one-stop healthcare services provider in India’s rural and poorest regions. Currently, it functions across six states, viz, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana, covering more than 1,000 villages.

Demand in these villages is huge but the start-up is trying to expand to Punjab, Maharashtra and Gujarat as well. “India has nearly 130 million farmers and we have reached only 2.5 lakh of their family members.”

“GHC is rolling out affordable healthcare services to the rural population, while making the model economically viable,” he said. It has over a hundred full-time nurses and eight doctors as employees on rolls and access to a large number of doctors who help its patients, part time, from their clinics and hospitals.

Through the IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance Company Ltd, Gramin’s beneficiaries are also getting a family health insurance cover by paying a premium of a minimum Rs.300 per annum, depending upon age of beneficiaries. “But other health insurance companies can also join our efforts,” he said.

Currently, GHC has 100-plus manned operational brick-and-mortar clinics and has conducted over 4,800 health camps in Tier 4 and below regions. Services provided by GHC help the rural people avail primary medical care at a nominal price. “For a farmer’s family of four members, we charge only Rs.120 per annum which includes fees of ECG, blood sugar tests etc. This is cheaper than even a quack’s fees!”

GHC focuses towards making private healthcare services at a cost equivalent to government rates. It is also moving towards developing secondary care delivery capacities and is acting as an enabler for village people to avail private tertiary care services. GHC clinics also provide diagnostic tests, mother and child care, family planning consultation, secondary healthcare services through partner hospitals at nominal costs.

By bringing human intervention and advanced technology, GHC helps in conducting diagnostics tests on ground and using modern technology to get real-time medical consultation from qualified doctors. It holds 700-plus health camps every month in the rural areas.

The kiosks are both manned and digitised healthcare clinics providing primary diagnosis, a subsidised doctor consultation and access to quality medicines through its advanced assisted technology platform. Nurses at the kiosks conduct a physical examination and connects the patient with the online doctor by live audio or video feed through the GHC technology platform.

GHC also plans to upgrade the kiosks to be equipped with a diagnosis laboratory, a pharmacy, a special care unit, overnight bed facility and access to all the basic hospital services. Every detail is recorded as part of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) of the patient. Currently, GHC has health records of 1.30 lakh patients across six states, which can be shared with doctors and insurance companies.

GHC is now planning to open 4,000 kiosks and 1,000 centres in the next five years.

Published on April 17, 2018

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