Cover Story

Keeping community at the core

With a humble beginning back in 1975, the award-winning NMC Healthcare believes that healthcare is simply not about detecting, diagnosing, or treating an individual but about helping people lead a wholesome and healthy life.

NMC Healthcare is the UAE’s largest private healthcare provider with two main branches of business, NMC Healthcare and NMC Trading. From a one room clinic in Abu Dhabi to a global healthcare enterprise in 40 years, NMC has been chalking out distinct growth strategies that reflect the continuing leadership in the market. Focusing on expanding the capacities and building new capabilities, NMC has developed specialized verticals covering multi-specialty care, maternity and fertility, long-term and home care, operations and management and distribution services.
With a team of over 2,000 doctors and 18,000 paramedical and support personnel, NMC owns and manages over 135 healthcare facilities that includes hospitals, medical centers, long term care facilities, day surgery centers, fertility centers and home health services providers. Every year, over 8.5 million patients are treated by NMC doctors across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, UK, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Slovakia, Egypt, Brazil and Colombia. Besides, NMC was the first company from Abu Dhabi to list on the London Stock Exchange and is now part of the FTSE 100 Index, an elite club of top 100 blue-chip companies by market cap.
During the initial years, NMC, being the first private health care provider was confronted with many challenges. Instead of viewing these challenges as setbacks, NMC Healthcare perceived them as opportunities – blessings in disguise, and resolved them successfully with grit, perseverance, determination, & strength.
Believing in the policy of providing healthcare to all sections of society while upholding ethical medical practices and discouraging malpractice, NMC Healthcare’s customers are assured of receiving personalized care in a compassionate and friendly environment under the highest standards of quality at affordable prices. These founding principles continue to guide and motivate its employees every day as they aspire to remain the leading healthcare brand in the region.

Dr. Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, Founder and Non-Executive Chairman of NMC Healthcare (Abu Dhabi) and Chairman of UAE Exchange, began his journey in hospitality in 1975 and since then has diversified his interest into sectors like pharmaceuticals, global financial services, retail, advertising and information technology. The Forbes included Dr Shetty in its list of India’s 100 Richest People in 2015 as well as in 2016. He has also be felicitated with the Global Indian Achiever Award in 2015 from H. H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak al Nahyan, while MILAAP honored Shetty with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
In the same year, NMC Healthcare, received the Frost & Sullivan Middle East Integrated Healthcare Company of the Year Award. In 2016, Dr Shetty received the Golden Peacock Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Leadership. In 2017, Dr Shetty was honored for his contribution to the region’s healthcare industry. Mediworld ME has caught up with the Founder and Non-Executive Chairman and here is our conversation in a Q&A format.
In 1973 you set your foot in the UAE and since then you have traversed a long way. Can you share some of your experiences in this illustrious journey; how difficult the journey was and what challenges you had to face?
In the early seventies, I came searching for a job to pay off a family loan. Although a qualified pharmacist, yet, since I could not speak Arabic, I could not find a job as a pharmacist. Hence, I became the country’s first outdoor pharmaceutical salesman. As mentioned, I was a door to door salesman. I used to drive down in the summer heat to hand-deliver the medicines myself. Strips in bags or cartons on my shoulders, I used to deliver them myself. Perhaps, God has a plan for everyone. And he had a plan for me too. And those days of physical hard-work have kept my body stronger even today.
You ventured into the field of healthcare by establishing New Medical Centre (NMC) in 1975 how has the health care sector evolved over the decades across the UAE?
Back in the early 1970’s, the UAE was still in its formative years and our late founder of the UAE and father of the nation, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (May peace be upon his soul) had a vision to provide quality healthcare services to its residents. Back then it was provided free of costs although with long waiting time. That is when NMC was born out of a single room medical centre in the heart of Abu Dhabi with my wife Dr. C R Shetty being the first employee.
Indeed, at the time of the U.A.E.’s founding in 1971, the country had just seven hospitals and 12 health centers. Today, it has come a long-long way in improving about that number and stands at number 27 in world health systems ranking of the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a study by Mena Research Partners (MRP), a research company, it has been suggested that the UAE’s health care sector will grow by 60 per cent in the next five years. The UAE’s healthcare market, which is currently valued at Dh64 billion, will surge to over Dh100 billion in 2021.
You are known for your community service initiatives, please tell us more about few CSR projects which are close to your heart?
The Indian values of education, hard work, taking parents as next to Almighty and treating teachers as parents, giving respect to everyone and inculcating same values in children came handy in living life with fulfilling and satisfactory outcomes. My education by my mother was, “Go anywhere and do anything, but only ensure that your actions are positively impacting the lives of at least people around you.”
You have won so many awards and accolades but do you think every award brings more challenge to excel and out do your previous performance?
In recognition to my contributions to healthcare and service to humanity, I have been conferred upon honorary doctorate degrees by Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia and the Middlesex University, London at its Dubai campus. I am also the recipient of the Order of Abu Dhabi, the highest civilian award bestowed by the Government of Abu Dhabi, the Pravasi Bhartiya Award presented to me by the late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India and the Padmashri Award, one of the highest civilian awards bestowed by the Government of India.
Last but not the least; I am also a member of the Medical Council of the UAE representing the private sector healthcare. All the above gives me a sense of direction that as a person and as a professional, I am on the right track.
What about your expansion plans?
I have a senior management team that looks after the sustainability and scalability of our businesses. However, my guidance to them is always to keep the community at the core of the strategy as I strongly believe that a life not lived in the interest of the community is not worth living.
Over the years, NMC has earned the trust of millions, thanks to its personalized care & a sincere commitment to the overall well-being of the community it serves.
With a team of over 2,000 doctors and 18,000 paramedical and support personnel, NMC owns and manages over 135 healthcare facilities that includes hospitals, medical centers, long term care facilities, day surgery centers, fertility centers and home health services providers.