Entrepreneur Dr. Debasish Bebartta, Founder of Samvab, Orissa based healthcare Social Enterprise, On offering a comprehensive portfolio of healthcare services to the customers

24th Apr 2011
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What is the mission of Samvab?

Samvab is a social enterprise in healthcare sector, operating in my hometown Berhampur in Orissa. We provide high-quality medical services to the middle class and likewise to the poor.

You offer the same services even to the poor communities. How is this sustainable?

Our subscription model, with different fees based on the client's income, enables literally anybody to sign in. Middle-class customers sort of cross-finance the low-income and no-income clients. We have a healthy balance of paying customers from middle-class families and the poor. Samvab's business model is similar to an insurance company’s, wherein the customer pays a monthly fee to be entitled to receive the provided services.

 

What is the problem that you are trying to solve? How are you addressing the problems that public sector could not solve?

Government hospitals provide free service but their clients have to accept poor quality, intolerably long waiting times and even corruption. Reasonable service is only offered by privately-run health care facilities and practitioners, who charge fairly high rates. They do not offer a comprehensive portfolio of services to their customers, nor are they available 24x7. Most of all, there is no organisation focusing on the demand of healthcare services for old people, like old-age homes, geriatric centres, mobile nursing service or ambulances. Such services are not non-affordable, they are simply not available.

Our portfolio comprises of the round the clock availability of doctors, doorstep health care services, 24x7 ambulance service for transport and emergency services, geriatric care, counseling about preventive medicine and preventive check-up at schools. There is a great need of emergency services and health care services for old, chronically sick and bedridden patients. People like to join us, because we are the only ones who provide these services.

Let us know more about your team.

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I have founded this organisation along with my wife, who is also a doctor, with the support of my family. My team currently consists of 5 doctors as permanent staff, 3 pharmacists, 4 drivers(for the ambulances), 3 lab technicians, 2 house nurses, 4 marketing clerks, 1 legal adviser and 2 media/advertising co-ordinators. To keep the cost structure lean, Samvab is cooperating with various medical specialists instead of hiring them. We call them 'leasing doctors' - currently there are 20 specialists available on-call duty.


What are the factors that you feel lead to success in this venture?

Customer proximity guarantees accessibility for customers and availability of service in case of emergency. Our services are customised to the different needs of our various target groups, depending on their age, profession, sex, social status etc. The success of our organisation is based on the best resource utilisation, may it be personnel like doctors, infrastructure like ambulances etc and our access to a vast network of external resources like on-call doctors, medical colleges etc. This way we are able to keep the cost structure lean.


How many customers do you serve with the existing set-up?

We are proud to see more than 3000 customers(and their families) who have registered within the first 2 years of operation. In this short period of time, we opened 5 offices and healthcare centers, scattered across the city, so that people can be reached in a short time.


Let us know about your expansion plans.

Since almost one year, we are taking our programme to the rural districts around Berhampur. Our business plan comprises of 22 'Samvab Points' placed at the 22 block headquarters, 1100 rural health staff spread all over the district, with population of more than 4 million inhabitants in over 4,000 villages. Even after expansion we should be able to provide emergency, doorstep and referral services to the entire district population.

We at YourStory are impressed by Samvab’s work so far! We will keep you posted about how Samvab scales and how its model is adapted elsewhere. What do you think about this idea? Please let us know by writing to feedback@yourstory.in and check out http://www.samvab.org/ for more details.

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