Microfinance meets Micro Healthcare
Micro Healthcare

Microfinance Focus, August 24, 2011: In an attempt to provide affordable micro health program to the underserved sections of the society, Mysore (Karnataka, India) based healthcare consultancy and service provider Suddanand Healthcare has developed a symbiotic relationship with microfinance institutions in Karnataka.

Utilizing the existing customer base infrastructure of MFIs in the state, Suddanand Healthcare program is ensuring higher efficiency, standardization of charges, greater awareness and penetration of health care to a larger section of people.

Suddanand is a non-governmental organization (NGO) and offers a non-commercial micro health program. An individual has to pay Rs. 160 to become a member. With this membership, he/she can claim up to Rs. 5000. The membership card can be used at certain hospitals to receive outpatient services at Rs. 10 and inpatient treatment at fixed costs arranged by Suddanand Healthcare with the hospitals.

Suddanand Healthcare coordinates between MFIs and network hospitals for fixing standard rates for medical expenses. It also appoints and provides claim forms to network hospitals near the villages. Further, it provides license to treat patients under cashless scheme to the hospitals.

There are other value-added services such as arranging ambulance services, guiding members for special consultation, providing information about 24-hour help lines, health facilities, bed availabilities, organization of lifestyle and other well-being programs. Through these comprehensive services, Suddanand Healthcare is able to provide affordable health care to the poor.

Suddanand Healthcare has an affordable outpatient cost of just Rs. 10. It has the license to get patients treated under cashless scheme in the concerned hospitals. There is a hand held system in place and when the patient goes to the hospital, there will be a Suddanand helper at the hospital to help the patient.

Suddanand uses web-based software to maintain claim settlements. Lastly, Suddanand micro health care program ties up with MFIs, to use their customer database to educate and reach out to the poor.

The Healthcare’s model is a self-sustaining in the sense that it does not need external funding. Its members’ contributions are able to sustain the program.

In an interview with Microfinance Focus, Dr. Arjun Sachidanand, Managing Director of Suddanand Healthcare, felt that there was a grave need for a healthcare program in India for its large number of the poor. He realized that 70% of emergency loans of MFIs taken by the poor were for health purposes. Considering the nature of health emergencies and the urgency of the situations, the poor are vulnerable to exploitation by moneylenders. He also realized that insurance companies did not want to cover the rural poor. The vast majority of the country suffers from a poor standard of healthcare infrastructure that has not kept up with the growing economy.

The incident that inspired Dr. Sachidanand to start up a micro health program was the case of a 6 year old girl who had come into the hospital and 6 months ago she died. She had fever and was given consultation as well as a prescription for medication. However, she had not purchased the medicines due to financial constraints. So, her family decided to take her to a quack, which would be cheaper. The quack had given her steroids that caused her illness to spiral into Meningitis. Unfortunately, the girl passed away 6 months later. Being a witness to this incident, Dr. Sachidanand decided that such a scenario should not repeat any more. He thus decided to start a micro health program that made affordable healthcare services available to the poor. With his micro health program, his main goal is that “nobody will be denied treatment for lack of money”.

Dr. Sachidanand shares some of the challenges that he faced in implementing the program. One of them was about ensuring cooperation of the doctors in the hospitals with the program and providing the right and necessary treatment at the appropriate cost. In order to stem out fraud, Suddanand has its own medical personnel to verify the authenticity of the claims. Another challenge Dr. Sachidanand discussed was geography. Many villages are located far away from the hospitals. However, Dr. Sachidanand has ensured that the network hospitals are no farther than 20km from the villages.

Looking optimistically towards the future, Suddanand is launching its third phase of registration and is hoping to reach out to 100 thousand poor. So also, Suddanand is hoping to scale up its scope aiming to operate in more districts in the state as well as to venture into other Indian states such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Great undertaking and it is my sincere hope that it will work

It pains my heart to read stories about kids in the developing world who die because there is no basic medical care available to them. I also enjoyed reading this article and wish Dr. Sachidanand best of luck. Who knows, perhaps MicroHealthCare is the next big thing in the developing world. Prevention and education play an important role in keeping a nation healthy. These initiatives are also the least expensive.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Sponsored Links

Microfinance Focus

Copyright @ Microfinance Focus. All rights are reserved. Managed by Ekayana Media