One of the earlier posts on my blog here on Social Edge received a comment from a certain Mr. Ashwin Naik from Vaatsalya. I was pleasantly surprised to see his name in an article on Social Enterprises in Business World, a few days ago. Recently, my father, who hails from the North Karnataka region where Vaatsalya operates, also mentioned about it. So, I decided to explore and profile Vaatsalya.
Vaatsalya is a for-profit chain of hospitals and clinics which aims to provide quality healthcare to semi-urban and rural areas. Vaatsalya’s mission, in their own words, is: "While 70% of India is living in semi-urban and rural areas, 80% of our healthcare facilities are located in urban/metro areas. Vaatsalya is bridging this gap by building and managing hospitals/clinics in semi-urban and rural areas and bringing healthcare services where it is needed most. Our vision is to transform the quality of life in India by bringing affordable, efficient and friendly healthcare within the reach of the common man". Vaatsalya opened its first hospital in February 2005 in Hubli, a city located nearly 400 miles to the North of Bangalore. They have since opened units in Gadag and Karwar in the North Karnataka region and these units provide healthcare services that are normally available only in big cities, at affordable prices. They also have clinics located in smaller towns, which are part of the Vaatsalya network.
Ashwin, one of the founders of Vaatsalya, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and a Master’s degree from the University of Houston Texas and has worked in various capacities in clinical research based on genomics and bioinformatics. Veerendra Hiremath, Vaatsalya’s co-founder, also has a degree in Medicine and has worked in Hosptial Administration.
Recently, Vaatsalya won the top prize in the established category at the BiD Challenge India 2007 for its plan: "Bridging the Gap in Healthcare Access". The BiD Challenge India is part of a global network known as Business in Development Network. Veerendra Hiremath was also identified recently as a "Social Impact Fellow" for the year 2007-08. Vaatsalya plans to open 100 more units in five different states in India soon. I wish them the very best to achieve this ambitious goal. I also hope that they open a Vaatsalya unit in my hometown (Davangere) too!