Committed to the idea of social entrepreneurship, Garg is striving hard in the direction of making this kind of healthcare services more approachable for patients. In an exclusive interaction with SupportBiz, Garg shared his opinions about the Indian healthcare market, and insights into his entrepreneurial journey so far. Edited excerpts from the interview:
How did you conceive the idea of setting up this new type of healthcare centre for kidney care?
I always wanted to be in a business which can give back to the society. In 2005, I went to Singapore and joined the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) there, after my post graduation from IIM-Bangalore. This was my first job. I realised, during the course of this job, that there is a huge potential for kidney care centres in Delhi. During my stint with NKF, I learnt the criticalities of running a centre for kidney care. After spending some time in Singapore, I came back to India and started a dialysis centre for the burgeoning number of kidney patients. I started from West Delhi, and in a couple of years, we have added 10 centres across New Delhi. This is the first ever stand-alone dialysis centre in India.
What is the expertise that your centres offer to patients suffering from kidney ailments?
DCDC and Kidney Clinic is a healthcare facility specializing in providing quality dialysis care to patients suffering from end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive loss in renal (kidney) function. According to a study, almost 10% of Indians have this problem. It has five stages; if the problem is detected at an initial stage, the patient might not have to go in for a dialysis. Typically, patients in CKD-Stage 5 are defined as End-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, who are put on dialysis.
Our idea is to provide to patients an environment which is not hospital-like. Apart from providing patients with medical expertise, we also handle them in a way that ensures their psychological comfort too.
How has the response to your centres been?
From the patients’ acceptance point of view, the response has been extremely phenomenal. The last couple of years have been ones of continuous and aggressive growth for us.
What are your expansion plans?
We aspire to become India’s biggest dialysis care chain. In the immediate future, though, we intend to have at least 15 centres by the end of 2012-13. As of now, we are focused on the Delhi-NCR region. However, from January 2013 onwards, we will be foraying into other states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh. We will be adopting a step-by-step expansion plan. By the end of 2013, we plan to have almost 35 centres across the country, and in the next 18 months, we have plans to have around 80 centres across India.
What is the major challenge that you foresee in enhancing the impact of kidney care?
The process of dialysis is considered to be a very expensive affair. In most cases, the expense is huge, and is paid from the patient’s own pocket. This is a big limitation for a large number of patients who need to go for dialysis. This is one of the major challenges of this domain.
The government can play a vital role in making kidney care affordable. Insurance agencies, too, should cover these expenses.