Supporting Social Entrepreneurs Serve the Poor: The India DM | World Bank Institute (WBI)

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • In rural areas in India, seeing the doctor could require at least three visits. At GNRC Hospitals Private Limited, an innovative business model streamlines the 3-day process into one.
  • GNRC’s ultra low-cost plan is one of 12 innovative business models that were surfaced by the 2014 India Development Marketplace (DM).
  • The DM is a multifaceted program that surfaces, supports, replicates and scales innovative business models from private actors who deliver crucial services to the poorest and most marginalized populations in the world.  
(c) Blythe Nicole Kladney/ World Bank

July 24, 2014―For many people living in extreme poverty, visiting a doctor is a luxury. Especially in rural areas in India, seeing the doctor could require at least three visits: one to make the appointment, one to visit the doctor, and one to receive the diagnosis, all requiring long travel and often high lodging costs. For the more than 400 million people living on less than US$1.25 a day in India, this means making the difficult decision between getting the health care they need, and losing several days of crucial wages.

While working on his residency in New Delhi, Dr. Nomal Chandra Borah saw the hardship felt by the patients and their families and decided to dedicate his time to make quality health care accessible to the people in his home state of Assam. As the founder of Guwahati Neurological Research Center (GNRC) Hospitals Private Limited, he and his team have developed an innovative and inspiring business model that streamlines this three day process into one. Patients arrive at the newly constructed North Guwahati GNRC Campus, see a doctor, receive their diagnosis, and are given their medicine all in one business day. Additionally, the hospital has instituted Medireach, mobile health service that travels into remote, hard to reach villages. With these vans, GNRC brings health care to those who need it most: decreasing the three day process to none.

GNRC’s ultra low-cost plan is one of 12 innovative business models that were surfaced by the 2014 India Development Marketplace (DM). Each organization’s model provides crucial health, financial, education, water, and sanitation services to the poorest people in the Northeastern Indian states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Mizoram. Other innovative solutions surfaced include: BASIX SUB-K which turns existing small businesses into banking institutions in order to provide the poor with financial services; Agastya Foundation, which promotes science education for at-risk students through low cost models and visuals; and the South Asian Forum for the Environment (SAFE), which is implementing a solar-run water treatment plant that provides free drinking water to the urban slums in Guwahati. In partnership with the World Bank Group’s India Country Office and International Finance Corporation’s Inclusive Business Models Group, the DM will provide US$1.3 million in grant funding and capacity development assistance. The DM will work with these organizations in a two year granting period to help these social entrepreneurs deliver life changing services to as many poor people as possible.

open-quotesThe DM grant is a great honor. The funding will allow our hospital to grow to 1,000 beds and for us to increase our Medireach fleet.close-quotesDr. Nomal Chandra Borah, founder of GNRC Hospitals Private LimitedGNRC’s model hinges on its ability to provide sophisticated technologies like MRIs, PET Scans, and CT Scans, amongst others, all at the ultra-low cost of US$15 - $40: prices that would be double to triple the cost at other hospitals. Understanding these prices are still out of reach for many of the region’s marginalized populations, in certain cases, the hospital allows patients to visit the hospital free of charge.
GNRC is not only life changing for many of the region’s poor, but the model is competitive as well. Through its dedication to providing all people with quality, affordable health care, the hospital’s prices are offered to every patient. This attracts a high volume of patients able to pay, and compensates for the ultra low prices; making it one of the most competitive hospitals in the area. Additionally, the hospital has adopted green architecture approaches that utilize locally sourced bamboo and the abundant Assam sun: reducing the need for air conditioning and electricity.

“The DM grant is a great honor,” said Dr. Borah. “The funding will allow our hospital to grow to 1,000 beds and for us to increase our Medireach fleet. But more importantly, the capacity development will help us learn how to grow and deliver essential health care to all that need it, regardless of their financial status.”
 
The Development Marketplace (DM) is a multifaceted program that surfaces, supports, replicates and scales innovative business models from private actors (for profit, nonprofit, and hybrids) who deliver crucial services to the poorest and most marginalized populations in the world. The program consists of four interrelated components that work to scale these solutions around the globe. They are: (1) the DM competition that surfaces impactful business models developed by private enterprises; (2) capacity development that supports the implementation and sustainability of these models to targeted geographies; (3) evidence-based learning; and (4) fostering an enabling environment for business model innovation. For more information on how the DM supports innovative business models for those living in extreme poverty, check out the DM’s blog and follow them on Twitter @WorldBankDM.

Comments (5)

Innovation in health support

Yes, that is the way we can put on the shoes of the poor

Supporting Social Entrepreneurs.

My special thanks WBI to support the initiative to serve the poor and middle class.

Affordable Health Care ....

It's a good initiative. Congratulations ....

Congratulations to both grantee and DM!

Really looking forward to hearing more success stories from the DM in the coming year(s).

My high respects to Dr. Nomal

My high respects to Dr. Nomal Chandra Borah for founding GNRC and taking the initiative. It would be great to see World Bank and other donor agencies fully support such initiatives in other parts of India.

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