Dr. Nomal Chandra Borah is a neurologist and the founder of the first super-specialty tertiary care hospital in the North-East India popularly known as Guwahati Neurological Research Centre Limited (GNRC) in Assam, India. Recipient of multiple prestigious awards, he is also the managing trustee of Asian Institute of Nursing Education and also the owner of Medishop retail chain.
The saga begins in 1980s when, moved by the plight of the people in North East India suffering from lack of access to quality healthcare, Dr. Borah decided to set up his own facility to provide the population healthcare and cure. His own capital of Rupees 5,000/-, unsecured loans from his friends and a term loan from the Bank of Baroda was harnessed eventually to bring to fruition the Guwahati Neurological Research Centre (GNRC) Hospital Dispur – which evolved from a clinic to North East India’s premier multi-specialty hospital.
The entrepreneurial fire, of course, was far from over. Indeed, his appetite was merely whetted for greater milestones.
Concerned that most private healthcare facilities, including those set up by him, were unaffordable for the majority of the population, while public healthcare facilities were over-burdened, Dr. Borah initiated determined efforts to formulate a model that enabled access to quality, affordable healthcare for majority of the population. He conducted numerous conversations with members of the local communities, in the attempt to understand the challenges they face in accessing affordable, quality healthcare. These conversations led to the formulation of an operating and service delivery model, which found its expression in GNRC Institute of Medical Sciences, a 1200-bedded facility which commenced operations in early 2014 at North Guwahati. The salient features of this unique model are:
a. Community Health Workers called ‘Swasthya Mitra’ impart health education at community level and create health awareness amongst the masses.
b. Emphasis is given to keep the people healthy & disease free. Preventive health care is very much a part of the programme which covers both communicable & non communicable diseases.
c. Menace of tobacco, alcohol, & drugs and the need to avoid those are explained to the community.
d. Emphasis is on preventing catastrophic diseases like Stroke, Heart attack, CKD, Cancers & RTA.
e. Bringing down cost of healthcare through disruptive innovations and make it affordable to majority of the people.
f. All Accident & Emergency patients are catered to free of cost. That’s hardly all. Ambulance services, Doctors consultation, blood test, x-rays and ECGs are free. 38 different types of medicines & consumables are given free to the patients for the first 24 hrs. For OPD patients the hospital provides free guidance from Swasthya Mitra, free transport services to and fro from the hospital and free doctor’s consultation. High cost investigations are performed at a nominal cost – for instance, CT Brain at INR 900, MRI Brain at INR 2500, and Coronary Angiography at INR5000. Surgeries are performed at a third of the market rate.
g. Most of the hospital items like beds & OT tables are produced indigenously by the hospital itself to help economize costs even further. .
h. To address the problem of poverty, GNRC undertakes innovative income generating schemes for the poor people whereby it provides assured guaranteed income of INR 10,000 per family every month - along with health insurance which does not come within the preview of schemes like PMJAY. Wherever possible, the hospital works in tandem with Govt sponsored schemes like PMJAY.
i. The model is not just profitable and economically sustainable - it has so far touched the lives of over a million people.
Ignorance, ill health and poverty are the biggest enemy of mankind. It increases social inequality and disrupts peace & harmony in the society. Dr. Borah and his team at GNRC has challenged this menace of mankind by developing a sustainable health care delivery model which addresses the issues of awareness, prevention, affordable treatment and economic empowerment of the financially weaker sections of the society. The model – an outcome of sheer hard work, dedication, determination, courage & conviction - will require continuous research and innovation to meet the current & future aspirations of the people.
As always, Dr. Borah and his team is ready for the challenge.
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