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Loans that can save Lives

Santhosh Ramdoss
26th Aug 2008
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Indians have a much higher pre-disposition for heart disease, and are genetically three times more vulnerable to a heart attack as compared to people living in many Western nations. While cardiovascular medicine has made great strides in the last few decades, heart surgery continues to be a costly affair for most of the poor in India.

On the other hand, the Bangalore based Narayana Hrudayalaya has been in the forefront of providing quality cardiovascular care for the poor – adopting a Aravind like model of charging the rich and subsidizing the poor. Now the hospital is experimenting with a new idea – collaborating with State Bank of India to offer loan product on a pilot basis for poor heart patients undergiong cardiac treatment [via Economic Times].

“The SBI Hrudaya Suraksha scheme is being launched as a pilot project to evaluate the concept of offering loan on easy interest terms for those below poverty line – earning less than $2 a day – who need urgent cardiac intervention,” SBI chairman and managing director OP Bhat said on the occasion.

Narayana Hrudayalaya founder Devi Shetty said the loan amount (Rs.50,000) would meet about 80 per cent of the total cost (Rs.65,000) for a heart surgery of poor cardiac patients to be identified and subsidised by the hospital. The average cost of a heart surgery at Shetty’s health cities is about Rs.100,000

Interestingly, the loan product was launched by Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus during his recent visit to Bangalore.

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