New Delhi-based Aakash Healthcare Pvt. Ltd on Wednesday said it has acquired Asia Med Centre in Uzbekistan’s Tashkent for $4 million (Rs 32.6 crore). The upgraded 60-bedded multi-speciality hospital will be opened to public on 23 November.
The large number of medical tourists from Uzbekistan visiting India for advanced treatment, prompted the hospital to enter the market, managing director Aashish Chaudhry said in an interview. “While we were exploring Uzbekistan for getting patients to India, we realized that every country is leveraging medical tourism as a dollar train," he added. Over 400 Uzbek patients visited at a time, and around 10,000 annually, he said. “Our team visited 14 times to treat patients there and we were working on the project for the last three years. Only last month we finalized our deal."
According to Chaudhry, the company approached Uzbek officials, who offered them two government hospitals from the days of the Soviet Union, however, it decided to back of as the facilities were in poor condition and would require a lot of infrastructure investment.
“We don’t want to spend on infrastructure, but for medical care and technology. So, we did not go with the offer back then. Then we started exploring in the private sector and when we started searching for hospitals there, we found that the quality of care was not at all good, lacking medicines, expertise and equipment." He said the company will have to build the facilities from scratch.