E-Summit 09: Day 1: Guest Lecture by Sramana Mitra (Part III)

Sramana Suggests Healthcare to be the next big thing. And how so? Healthcare facilities, while abundant in urban India, are pretty scarce in rural India. Now how do we capitalize on that?

One brilliant idea is Doctor-At-Hand: A pharmacy based healthcare franchise for rural India. It makes sense because while enough doctors and nursing staff may not be available for all the half-a-million villages in India, pharmaceutical availability can go a long way in improving the health situation, while cashing on the Base of Pyramid market.

A corollary to DAH is Doctor-On-Wire: Regional healthcare franchise with tele-medecine facilities. Regional hubs may be created for doctors, which may be immediately dispatched on call. Proper planning is required to perfectly execute this plan.

After all this is Doctor-For-Sure: Health Insurance for everybody. In the villages of India lies a huge untapped market for Health care services.

Home-Based healthcare: It’s an idea about providing healthcare services to the elderly and the disabled. This has great potential in India since service is very cheap here, and the need for care for invalids is also huge.

After these suggestions by Sramana, some brilliant ones were to come from the audience too. One member of the audience enquired about the future of psychology/psychiatry in India. Sramana was highly positive about it, since at present there’s said to be one psychologist for one lakh people in India. While seeking psychological therapy in India has been a taboo in the past, outlooks are changing, and a huge market with almost no players may be created instantly for psychotherapists.

Another listener suggested providing paramedic services in epidemic-prone areas. Again, it was something that made perfect sense. Another huge market to tap, another million dollar opportunity. Some audience members were though sceptical about running profitably in poor rural India. Sramana, at this point, made it very clear that non-profit should be the last option. Besides, this is what the Base of Pyramid concept is there for. BoP says that the lower the strata of the society, the greater its population, the higher their collective wealth, and consequently, the larger market to tap.

Another question, though unrelated, was asked regarding the future of the tertiary sector in India, the consulting market. Sramana was very sceptical about it, and did not see much of a market in the immediate future. Her experience had taught her that it’s very difficult to sell consulting services in India, since people do not accept that problems exist. Well, fact is, Indians are cheap. I suppose it’ll take years before people realise the value of consulting in India, and then again, an instant Boom. But there’s time.

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