When Apollo Hospitals commenced operations in 1983, it marked an important watershed: the first corporate hospital equipped with state-of-the art diagnostic equipment that are regularly updated.
India is racing to become Number One in several non-communicable diseases; notably cardiac ailments, cancer, TB and diabetes. The incidence of these has been widespread and by 2030, if not tackled with urgency and effectively, these can take a very heavy toll of human lives. The prevalence is not just among the old and the aged. Heart attacks are seen even among the young. Sadly, there is as yet not much awareness of the severity of the problem.
This concern was voiced by Dr P C Reddy, who pioneered the concept of corporate hospitals in the country.
1983 – a watershed healthcare
When Apollo Hospitals commenced operations in 1983, it marked an important watershed: the hospital was equipped with state-of-the art diagnostic equipment and PCR was effectively marketing these. PCR spread consciousness for health check up. In quick time autoclaves, ultrasounds, dopplers, treadmills, scanners… were made familiar to the emerging middle class. An ingenious marketing scheme resulted in instant success: in this Apollo offered a registration fee of Rs 150 and charged just 10 per cent of the cost for any diagnostic test! The master health check-up introduced for a modest fee and executed by dedicated physicians like Dr Saroja Balasubramanian, backed by a good number of specialist- physicians again proved to be a boon and the consciousness for healthcare received great impetus.
Thus the concern of the pioneer PCR is understandable. He says with passion much relief can be provided by early diagnosis and treatment. For this there is need to spread health consciousness on priority, he said.
Marvel at Modicare…
This pioneer is understandably happy over Modicare. PCR expressed admiration over the Budget proposal to provide healthcare for 50 crore of the population. “This is the largest healthcare plan in any part of the world,” he said with admiration. PCR felt that with the experience of AP and Tamil Nadu offering such healthcare schemes for several years, the new proposal is eminently implementable.
A Hanuman jump in diagnosis and treatment of cancer
Right from the start Apollo has focused on catching up with contemporary technologies and systems. PCR referred to his enterprise building at an outlay of around Rs.1000 crore, a proton cancer centre that will mark another quantum jump in diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Recent technological advances in genomics and nuclear sciences have opened new vistas to accelerate knowledge in Molecular Epidemiology, with greater prospects for diagnosis and treatment of cancer. PCR said that the Proton Cancer Centre slated for commissioning in the next few months at Taramani, will be the first one in South East Asia and will help in basic and applied cancer research and development.
The centre will work on developing cancer control strategies that will include newer modalities of prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
A dedicated Apollo Oncology Team will focus on organ-specific cancer management and advanced radiation treatment option for cancer specialists.
The treatment will be highly precise with radiation directly focused on the tumour without harming adjoining tissues. The equipment will also help reach difficult-to-access areas in head, neck, brain, pancreas and prostrate. This will be of special help in treating children affected by cancer.
In 1980 PCR explained his dream of a corporate hospital to five economic journalists at Hotel Chola. I was one of those. (Sadly the others are no more.) After 38 years, I saw again in PCR the same passion and vision to dream big and dream far ahead. The concern he voiced on India topping in several morbidities, hopefully, will be tackled by a good combination of efforts to catch up with technology and effective healthcare policies. – SV