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Apollo Hospitals Group is scouting for partnering with hospitals in West Asia and Africa to leverage its brand equity in these highly potential medical tourism markets. The company is looking at bagging operation and management contracts from healthcare service providers in these markets, aiming to have close to 1,000 international beds over the next two years.

The strategy by default will also make Apollo, India's first MNC healthcare service provider. Apollo has just entered into a partnership to provide operational management services to Lagos-based Hygeia Nigeria, one of the largest healthcare groups in west Africa.

Hygeia Nigeria also owns the largest health maintenance organisation (HMO) in Nigeria with over 200 hospitals and clinics in the network. Apollo, a few days ago has also bagged a project consultant job for a 100-bed multi-speciality hospital in Ghana.

Projects in Kuwait, Yemen, Sudan, Ethiopia, UAE, Bangladesh, Nepal and Malaysia are also at various stages of association. Most projects are handled from the concept to commissioning and eventually the management.

"Apollo's pan-Asian experience is now much sought-after by the developing and the developed countries. Low-cost high quality healthcare model that Apollo has perfected are the virtues that the global healthcare organisations are trying to replicate," Mr John Punnoose, CEO, operations and management division of the company said

Apollo has even decided to take this business model for the company's future growth plan in the domestic market. In fact, this strategy of Apollo does not need any financial capital investment but only transfer of human capital.

"Investing for own beds at today's cost would be to the tune of Rs 30-45 lakh per bed. On the other hand, the overheads and costs involved in managing hospitals are relatively less with higher returns," Mr Punnoose added. The hospital major is also looking at this business model to increase its presence in cities where it has no presence till now.

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