About Indian Hospital
08 June 2012
A series by Paul Roy - Al Jazeera - We go inside a hospital complex as it delivers high quality healthcare to rich and poor alike.
The Narayana Hrudayalaya hospital in Bangalore is addressing some of the country's inequalities .
The series Indian Hospital takes an indepth look at the work of the Narayana Hrudayalaya ("Temple of the Heart") health city on the outskirts of Bangalore, which offers a completely new way of delivering high quality healthcare to rich and poor alike.
Filmed over four months by two crews in this four-hospital health city complex, the series explores life in modern India through the prism of the challenges faced by a hospital in a society of 1.2 billion people, where extreme poverty and extreme wealth are to be found side-by-side.
For the 40 per cent of those people who live below the poverty line, getting good quality healthcare is difficult and often impossible. A serious illness or accident in a family can cripple their finances and affect the prospects of generations to come. Borrowing money or selling assets for medical needs is the most common reason for indebtedness in India.
Under the guidance of Dr Devi Shetty, cardiac surgeon, innovative businessman and founder, the Narayana Hrudayalaya hospital is addressing some of these inequalities and inequities.
The hospital provides the most complex operations on an industrial scale. And it needs to as India is a country where two million cardiac operations are needed every year, but only 95,000 are carried out. Here more pediatric open heart surgeries are undertaken each year than anywhere else in the world. Up to 500 cataract operations are performed per day. Cardiac surgery costing $40,000 to $50,000 or more in the US has a baseline cost here of just $1,800.
Its huge scale and improved efficiencies allows the hospital to reduce costs, not only for those who can afford to pay, but also for the very poor who can get the best care the hospital can offer at virtually no cost through assistance from the hospital's charity unit.
Yet, the hospital makes nine per cent profit per annum, while operating a policy of never sending away patients who cannot afford treatment, and retaining world-class standards of healthcare. Some see the hospital as a possible role model for Western health providers who are struggling with the burden of providing excellence in healthcare on an affordable scale.
This series looks at the stories of staff and patients both inside and outside the hospital, and examines the human impact that the availability of good quality, affordable healthcare has on a society where medical needs are so great, and access to such care is generally quite limited.