Big accomplishments are a result of taking baby steps when nobody is noticing. Today’s story revolves around a man who turned his personal losses into a social benefit. Prathap Chandra Reddy, a name lesser known to the common public is the main man behind Apollo Hospitals. His story doesn’t inspire just a particular sect of the society but collectively all of us.
This 84-year-old Indian cardiologist and entrepreneur started his journey at a young age. Born in Aragonda, the then-Madras presidency under the British India, has come a long way with his achievements. He started his first hospital with just 150 beds in Chennai. He started small but had a dream to nurture and never stopped working for it.
Pratap’s contribution towards the healthcare industry has been revolutionary. He is believed to be the man behind making healthcare facilities affordable and accessible in a country like India, where the rate of poverty is still phenomenally high. His is an inspirational story behind starting the chain of hospitals.
Pratap Reddy started his entrepreneurial journey after he returned from US in 1970. He lost his father, Raghava Reddy, to brain haemorrhage. He could neither save his mother, who was a cervical cancer patient, nor his close friend Kumar Raja Muthiah who died due to a heart attack. All these incidents inspired him to open his chain of Hospitals under the name of “Apollo” who was the Greek God of medicine, knowledge, art, and poetry. He believed that all these people could have been saved if they were provided with good healthcare facilities.
“There is something within us… we can do whatever you think should be done… I’ll call it 3 Ps. First, purity in thought, patience, and in India, you need persistence.” says Dr Reddy.
Dr Pratap is famous for his entrepreneur skills in healthcare and keeps in constant touch with his employees and patients. Having four daughters and being an open-minded man, he engaged all his daughters into managing the hospital chain at different levels. His four daughters Preetha, Suneeta, Sangeetha, and Shobana are all an example of how Dr Pratap has taken a step towards empowering women in the field of healthcare. Among the four daughters, Preetha is the Vice-Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals while Suneeta, Sangeetha, and Shobana are a part of Board of Directors.
This cardiologist has managed to take Apollo Hospitals to international level with several of the hospitals to be among the first to receive International Healthcare Accreditation by American-based Joint Commission International. Thirteen of his hospitals have been accredited by Indian-based National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers. Not just hospitals but the Apollo group now has a number of Pharmacies, Primary Care and Diagnostic Clinics. Apollo, under Dr Pratap, claims to cater around 50 million patients from over 140 countries.
Apollo Hospitals, as of 2016, had 43,557 employees working for them with a total revenue generation of Rs 6,058 crore and a profit of Rs 331 crore. The hospital has its headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and patients from around the world visits its branches for world-class treatment. There have been innumerable cases where Apollo Hospitals have been trusted over other hospitals in India for treatment. The late former chief minister of Chennai, Jayalalitha, was admitted to Apollo Hospitals for her treatment and was provided intensive care by the hospital authorities.
Dr Reddy consequently, in 2010, founded Billion Hearts Beating Foundation, which is a non-profit organization, for creating awareness around cardiovascular risks that people face today. The campaign is an initiative to make every Indian pledge to have a healthier heart.
The 84-year-old in one of his interview for Creating Emerging Markets at the Harvard Business School mentions how he had to extensively negotiate with the authorities to break the bureaucratic barriers to buy land and raise capital. He had dreamt of better healthcare facilities in India and successfully fulfilled it with his struggle.
He is very distinct with his ideologies women empowerment as he made it very clear that Apollo Hospitals would be managed by the family based on merit rather than the order of inheritance. The eldest, Preethi will be the next executive chairperson, as per the family constitution.
After spending almost a decade abroad, this cardiologist came back to serve his country and set examples for not just entrepreneurs or start-ups but people associated with the healthcare field. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1991 and Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in 2010 which he certainly deserves!