Startups, govt begin work on affordable cure for the poor

For dialysis patients in rural areas, a ride to the nearest city hospital for treatment is usually a trying one. But a state in southern India is now ensuring that it is no longer part of the deal, with a little help from a startup.

The Andhra Pradesh government recently tied up with dialysis provider NephroPlus for setting up of dialysis centres in thestate’s 13 district hospitals. The partnership is a sign of how establishedhealthcare startups in the country are forming public-private partnerships to provide affordable and quality healthcare to people living below the poverty line, and to also scale their businesses at a higher pace.

These players include Medall Healthcare, which is working with the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand, and Swasthya Slate, which has partnered with AAP government’s ‘mohalla clinics’. “Primary health is a key focus area for our country and there are many government initiatives for the same. Today many midstage health-tech startups are vying for these opportunities, wherein they get a project to implement certain specific requirements the government pertaining to primary health,” said Sreedhar Prasad, partner for startups and ecommerce, KPMG.

This seems like a logical progression for startups after establishing themselves to an extent in the private sector, because such contracts can help them scale-up quicker than a private sector contract. “Government contracts can help us scale much faster rather than a piecemeal growth through single private contracts. Public contracts also provide stability with respect to time frame,” said Vikram Vuppala, founder of NephroPlus, which recently bagged another government contract to set up two dialysis centres in Uttarakhand.

He said state governments are looking at affordable high-quality models which startups can provide, unlike the traditional businesses, and startups are always thinking of how to disrupt the market, which makes this a perfect combination. “Government has the infrastructure, but they don’t have the ability to hire people and deliver high-quality service at an affordable cost,” said Vuppala. “So the government is putting their best foot forward — which is infrastructure, and we are putting our expertise and scale to bring affordable yet high-quality healthcare, through which the patients will ultimately benefit.” Bengaluru-based Forus Health, which focuses on preventing blindness through its eye-screening devices, is also looking at partnering with state governments to expand their reach in the public sector.

Source: ETHealthworld

Date: 24th August, 2016

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