UAE group to bring affordable healthcare to smaller Indian cities

July 1st, 2010 - 12:52 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 1 (IANS) A prominent woman-owned hospital group in the United Arab Emirates, begun by a woman who moved there from Nagpur, plans to bring affordable health care services to smaller Indian cities with a $24 million World Bank financing.

“The project will introduce high clinical and managerial standards and create new jobs where there is significant unemployment, especially in smaller Indian cities,” the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank Group member, said on signing of agreements to finance Zulekha Hospitals Group’s expansion plans.

“We are very happy to partner with IFC, whose global experience and local knowledge of private health care in emerging and developing markets will help facilitate our expansion to India,” said Dr. Zulekha Daud, 72, managing director, Zulekha Hospitals Group.

Zulekha is proposing to use $21 million of IFC’s $24 million financing package to build a new 189-bed hospital in Nagpur, Maharashtra, where access to health care is low and patients often need to travel several hundred miles for quality medical treatment.

The remaining $3 million will pay for energy efficiency-related expenditure at Zulekha’s Sharjah facility in the UAE.

Zulekha Hospitals group operates a 63-bed hospital in Sharjah and an 88-bed hospital in Dubai. The business began in 1966 when Zulekha Daud of Nagpur established a small clinic in Sharjah. The group now employs 1,050 staff and treats over 550,000 patients per year.

IFC, the largest multilateral investor in private health care in emerging markets, expects to share its knowledge of clean production initiatives to generate cost savings and encourage other companies to adopt greener technologies.

“This investment reflects a strategic IFC priority to support health care networks and providers that work across countries and regions, especially in emerging markets such as India,” said Guy Ellena, IFC Director for Health and Education.

“We also are delighted to support a woman-owned business that expects to employ many women.”

Michael Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “IFC will help Zulekha Hospitals Group expand its reach and services beyond the Arabian Gulf, increasing access to affordable health care for people in India that need it the most while raising standards and promoting best practice across the industry.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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