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When pharma major Serum Institute of India realised that it was getting too difficult for Welfare Medical Foundation to run their 20-bedded hospital at Hadapsar, chairman Dr Cyrus Poonawalla decided to step in. The Villoo Poonawalla Memorial Hospital has now been constructed, equipped and commissioned by the Welfare Medical Foundation with financial and logistical assistance from Serum Institute of India. The hospital was inaugurated by Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday.
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“What better way to help these hospitals who have such goodwill but are constrained due to financial reasons,” Natasha Poonawalla, daughter-in-law of Dr Cyrus Poonawalla and chairperson of the Villoo Poonawalla Foundation told the media.
“The hospital intends to cater to the lower socio-economic segment and aims at bringing down the cost of quality healthcare by almost 50 per cent,” she said.
Funds to the tune of Rs 16 crore have been provided to the hospital and their 60-bed capacity will soon be increased to 100. She further talked about the issues being faced by the weaker sections of society due to demonetisation.
“For the first two months, the hospital will offer free-of-cost services for emergency admissions. However, the service will only be for patients belonging to the lower socio-economic groups and who get admitted in the General Ward category. We will follow a strict criteria for selection to avoid a rush of patients,” she said.
Dr Kiran Shah, along with other trustees of the Welfare Medical Foundation present at the launch, said that they used to run a 20-bed hospital. “However, it became difficult to raise funds and we needed financial support to ensure smooth functioning of the hospital. That is when Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Chairman of Serum Institute of India, and the foundation decided to step in and fund the hospital,” said Shah.
Meanwhile, this multi-speciality hospital will offer a healthcare programme that will include general medicine, general surgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology, urology, neurology, ENT, skin, pediatrics, gynecology and obstetrics. Spread across 3,800 sqm and nine floors, the hospital aims to provide services for basic health needs such as 24×7 emergency/casualty department and pharmacy, 10-bedded intensive care unit, five operation theatres, three-bedded neonatal intensive care unit, a dialysis centre and a complete diagnostic laboratory.
The Villoo Poonwalla Foundation had been instrumental in setting up six schools and now a hospital for the underprivileged. Their primary focus is on critical issues like health, sanitation and education and 1/3 of the total beds is in the General Ward category.
Dr Cyrus Poonawalla and chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India Adar Poonawalla were also present at the event.