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GE to push low-cost healthcare systems in rural markets

GE to push low-cost healthcare systems in rural markets
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First Published: Sun, Nov 08 2009. 09 53 PM IST

Healthy imagination: Tejpreet S. Chopra, outgoing president and chief executive officer of GE India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Rajkumar / Mint
Healthy imagination: Tejpreet S. Chopra, outgoing president and chief executive officer of GE India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Rajkumar / Mint
Updated: Sun, Nov 08 2009. 09 53 PM IST
New Delhi: As part of its “healthy imagination global initiative”, General Electric Co., or GE, will roll out stripped-down versions of healthcare systems for the rural Indian market. The project will see GE India spending $6 billion (Rs28,080 crore now) over the next five years.
“We have developed a mobile ECG (electrocardiogram) device for less than $1,000, against the existing cost of $15,000, which means that a patient in rural India can avail of an ECG for less than Rs50 against the several thousand rupees he will need to spend for an ECG in a big city,” says Tejpreet S. Chopra, outgoing president and chief executive officer of GE India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Healthy imagination: Tejpreet S. Chopra, outgoing president and chief executive officer of GE India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Rajkumar / Mint
The concept, he adds, is akin to the Nano small car from Tata Motors Ltd, where the entire model has to be reworked from scratch rather than going in for a cheaper version of an existing machine. At present, at least 100 such devices are in use across different states. Chopra says the company is looking for such value products across the entire healthcare chain, including maternal and infant care as also X-ray machines.
Of the total spending for the healthy imagination initiative, Chopra discloses that half, or $3 billion, has been earmarked for developing and producing value products for rural areas in India and across the globe. “Another $2 billion will be used for healthcare IT (information technology) and rural financing, while the remaining $1 billion will be utilized to improve healthcare awareness,” he says.
GE, which last year achieved revenue of $2.6 billion from its Indian operations, will soon also see a change of guard at the top, with John Flannery coming in to replace Chopra, who’s likely to head for a posting at GE’s corporate headquarters in Connecticut, US, after he demits office at the end of the current fiscal year. The move is aimed at consolidating the company’s several business interests—which include aviation, lighting, finance and media—into one team with an integrated strategy.
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First Published: Sun, Nov 08 2009. 09 53 PM IST