Pride of the community
Dr. Prathap C. Reddy is widely regarded as the architect of modern healthcare in India. He founded the first corporate chain of hospitals in India, the Apollo Hospitals Group in 1983. Starting from a 300-bedded multi speciality hospital in Chennai, the group has grown to a strength of over 8500 beds across 46 hospitals that are owned, managed or franchised. Six of the hospitals are outside India in Mauritius, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Nigeria and Yemen. These hospitals have served over 18.5 million patients from 55 countries. Seven of the hospitals have the prestigious JCI accreditation. These and other Hospitals, according to the group, are a testimony to the prime importance placed in ensuring the highest quality of healthcare, continued research and adoption of state-of-the-art technology for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients. "Dr Reddy, you have reversed the brain drain and brought talent back to India," former prime minister Indira Gandhi had once complimented Dr Reddy. Years later, former US president Bill Clinton said: "I hope people all over the world will follow your lead because, if we do, then benefits of hi-tech medicine can go to everyone." Dr Reddy received his premedical degree from the Madras Christian College and medical degree from Stanley Medical College, Chennai. Following his fellowship from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA, he went on to head research programmes at the Missouri State Chest Hospital. When Dr Reddy returned to India on the advice of his father, giving up a sound practice abroad, little did he realise he would be setting the stage for India to become a global healthcare destination twenty five years later. In 1979, he lost a young patient to heart disease, due to lack of advanced healthcare in the country and prohibitive cost overseas. This incident was a defining moment in his life and the dawn of a new vision. Growing from a 150-bed hospital in Chennai in 1983 to Asia's biggest hospital chain, the Apollo Hospitals Group has evolved into a globally respected brand, known for clinical excellence and quality patient care that transcends the globe. The Apollo Hospitals Group also offers many cutting edge services in telemedicine, health IT, project consultancy, clinical research, medical and nursing education, pharmacy retailing and health insurance. CSR initiatives that Dr Reddy has spearheaded include: SACH, SAHI, HOPE and the Neuroaid Foundation, as well as the new Health Super Hiway, which aims at connecting every physician across the length and breadth of the country, including small and medium hospitals. Dr Reddy's four daughters work with him and he has nominated Preetha, the eldest, as his successor. Reddy enjoys horse racing and owns a few studs. Dr Reddy gives much of the credit for Apollo's rapid growth to his four dynamic daughters. "They taught me to see that we can do bigger things," says the proud father. His 75th birthday was marked by a beachfront bash organized by 50-year-old Preetha, Suneeta, 49, Shobana, 47 and Sangita, 45. With the company planning another 20 hospitals in India's second- and third-tier cities, don't expect the daughters -- who have created a systematic division of labor at the company -- to cash out anytime soon, according to a newspaper report. "We're only looking to partner, to grow," Sangita Reddy, Apollo's executive director of operations told a newspaper. Her own medical-school aspirations were vetoed by her father because he thought she would be better suited to run his business. The Apollo brand has generated a fortune for the Reddy clan, which controls about 27 per cent of the listed company, according to the Wall Street Journal. Dr Reddy estimates his personal net worth at $500 million, including shares in Apollo group's listed companies and private investments in such areas as insurance and hotels. He says each of his daughters is worth about $200 million.