Akanksh Tandon fondly remembers taking part in together with his pals in Madiyado, a village positioned within the Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh. Nevertheless, someday, he tragically misplaced one in every of his expensive pals, a seven-year-old lady, and by no means noticed her once more.
“She was the daughter of my house-help. I used to be informed she had diarrhoea and her mom didn’t have sufficient monetary sources to go to the town for remedy. Again then, we had solely heard concerning the deaths of the aged, not kids. It was unfair to her,” the 37-year-old tells The Higher India.
Years later, Akanksh realised that the lives of his pals and tens of hundreds of others could possibly be saved if correct medical infrastructure have been to be carried out in villages.
“In rural areas, folks blame their future and God’s will if anybody succumbs to the illness. If that’s the case, then why do kids in different international locations not die in massive numbers? It’s not what God needed for us, it’s an infrastructure hole,” he says.
To enhance major healthcare companies and forestall such deaths, Akanksh co-founded a health-tech startup DigiQure in 2020 alongside together with his pals Saket Asati and Ankur Chourasia.
With their startup, they join underprivileged rural residents with healthcare specialists through video consultations by subscription-based playing cards at Re 1. Furthermore, additionally they provide digital prescriptions, lab check companies, and referrals to companion hospitals for secondary care.
To date, he has been in a position to cater to greater than 20,000 residents in rural Madhya Pradesh by DigiQure.
Leaving “dream job” to enhance rural healthcare
After graduating with a BTech diploma in Electronics and Communication engineering from NIT-Bhopal, Akanksh bought right into a authorities job.
“Such jobs are like dream jobs for any middle-class household, however I felt prefer it was missing function. I used to be working amongst lakhs of staff, and what distinction was I making? I requested myself if I might be blissful if I continued the work and retired at 60. The reply was no,” he remembers.
In the meantime, the healthcare apathy in rural areas saved reminding him of that childhood incident. “In rural areas, different sectors like banking have developed however healthcare stays poor. Many individuals, like my good friend, lose their lives to preventable illnesses,” he says.
Akanksh factors out that “a majority of illness load of India is due to inadequate major healthcare companies. There’s a shortfall of docs at major and neighborhood stage centres in rural areas as docs don’t need to go to villages. This forces rural residents to depart their day by day wage jobs, pack their baggage and run to hospitals in cities, or endure the struggling again residence. It prices them a fortune, time, and productiveness.”
“In any other case, they’re depending on jhola chaps (quacks), who simply give them IV drips of glucose even when they’ve diabetes. Teleconsultation comes as an ideal answer to bridge the hole. I needed to arrange inexpensive and personal major well being care centres in rural areas,” he provides.
So, after working for practically 9 years, Akanksh took the chance of quitting his well-paid authorities job and doing his bit to rework the rural healthcare infrastructure.
Progressive card subscription mannequin
To make healthcare for rural residents inexpensive, he presents a subscription-based Saksham card that prices Re 1 per day for use by a subscription holder and their household of 4. Utilizing this, they’ll avail of free consultations at e-clinics arrange by the startup.
“In Rs 365, you get free video consultations for a yr with healthcare professionals for a household of 4, no matter the illness and variety of instances you desire a session,” informs Akanksh.
To date, he has greater than 2,500 subscription holders throughout 5 telemedicine-based e-clinics in Sagar and Bhopal districts. Aside from Madhya Pradesh, he additionally supplies healthcare companies at a franchise mannequin in Fatehpur of Bihar and Aizawal of Mizoram.
“These e-clinics are a two-room centre the place sufferers convey their Saksham playing cards and guide their appointments with docs. Till the physician joins, educated healthcare employees conduct preclinical screening to test blood strain, blood glucose ranges, and electrocardiogram (ECG). After this, they’re linked with extremely certified docs inside 2–5 minutes, and given an e-prescription as effectively,” claims Akanksh.
“The prescription can be printed in a patient-friendly method with detailed and clear directions in English and Hindi. Exams, if any, are additionally carried out then and there. We additionally guarantee affected person engagement with follow-up calls till they get utterly handled,” he provides.
DigiQure has established a community of as much as 50 docs in 10 hospitals like Rudraksha Multi-Speciality Hospital and Physicure Centre, and two district-level labs.
He says that they get many circumstances associated to pores and skin illness, diarrhoea, girls’s reproductive well being, and allergy. As an example, Uttam Ahirwar, a resident of Khurai village in Sagar district, had been affected by mud mite allergy for the previous 4–5 years. Being a farmer, he couldn’t keep away from being within the mud.
“I might usually get chilly and would go to Jhansi for remedy. It will value me Rs 5,000 for a one-time go to. Two months again, I bought in contact with docs at DigiQure. After three teleconsultations, I really feel higher now, and it hardly value me something. Even my household can avail free session,” he tells The Higher India.
The co-founders appeared on Shark Tank India Season 2 earlier this yr and closed a deal of Rs 40 lakh with the pinnacle and govt director of Emcure Prescription drugs, Namitha Thapar.
“The expertise was too good there. We aren’t incomes in crores like different entrepreneurs, we’re the truth is burning Rs 2 lakh in a month. We’ve got invested our collective financial savings of Rs 60–70 lakh on this work. However we went to Shark Tank to spotlight healthcare issues on the grassroots. Healthcare is a crucial and large downside and requires urgency. If we get extra assist, we can make our work sustainable,” says the engineer.
“Though I’m not making a lot cash on this, on the finish of the day I feel I’m in a position to do one thing helpful. I get movies of the aged who name to thank us and even come to cities simply to thank the physician and us. We’re in a position to convey a distinction. I’m glad; I stay with a function now,” says Akanksh.
Edited by Pranita Bhat