A Holistic Strategy for a Healthcare Business in Bangladesh
How to become one of the biggest private healthcare providers in developing countries
T.V. Padma | 2016-04-13
The Labaid Group in Dhaka, Bangladesh, began as a multi-diagnostics center under one roof – a novelty in the late 1980s. Today, it delivers a wide range of health services, from specialty hospitals to pharmacies, reflecting the company’s holistic strategy and the country’s booming private healthcare sector.
Photos: Sebastian Forkarth
Filling the Gaps One by One
The center was a novelty in Bangladesh in the late 1980s, and it had to face the country’s shortage of trained personnel. “Paramedics, biochemists, and technologists such as radiologists were hardly available,” says Shamim. In 1996, he set up the Bangladesh Institute of Medical and Dental Technology (BIMDT), which offers a three-year diploma course to students who graduate high school. With its recognized quality of education, today’s BIMDT graduates are not only in demand in public and private institutions in Bangladesh, but also abroad, such as in the Middle East, says Shamim. “Bangladesh’s technician problem is now gone,” he adds.
Indeed, a key factor for Labaid’s success over the decades has been its strategy of systematically identifying shortcomings in the healthcare delivery chain. “I try to find the gaps and then offer better services to meet the demand,” explains Shamim. Bangladesh’s changing economic environment benefited his approach, with private healthcare taking off due to government policy support, a steady emergence of entrepreneurs, and the rise of a booming middle class. “About 10 percent of Bangladesh’s population can afford private healthcare, even if it is more expensive than publicly funded care,” says Shamim. Overall, there is a growing need for advanced medical treatment.
1World Bank Open Data: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.XPD.TOTL.ZS
2World Health Organization (2015) Bangladesh health system review. Health Systems in Transition, Vol. 5 No. 3 (http://www.wpro.who.int/asia_pacific_observatory/hits/series/bgd/en)
3World Health Organization (2015) Country health profile (http://www.who.int/countries/bgd/en/)
4World Health Organization (2011) World Health Statistics, pp 116-7 (www.who.int/whosis/whostat/EN_WHS2011_Full.pdf
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