|By From: Tapash Kumar [ Published Date: July 17, 2012 ]|
He's a name in healthcare in the U.A.E., but Thumbay Moideen, who made Dubai his home 14 years ago and started Thumbay Group in 1998, has demonstrated his versatility in business by making a success of the Group's forays in timber, real estate, education and information technology and many other fields too. The Arabian Business Magazine featured him among the top 100 most influential Indians in the Middle East in 2010. In an interview to lndia Matters, he discusses what it took to emerge as the leader in healthcare industry in the region.
1. Was it easy moving away from your traditional family business and how did you diversify, the Portfolio of Thumbay Group in the U.A.E.?
I met His Highness Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid A1 Nuaimi, a Member of the Supreme Council of U.A.E., and Ruler of Ajman in 1997. His suggestions encouraged me to branch out from the timber and construction industry and set up the first private medical education institution, Gulf Medical College (GMC) in 1998 in Ajman.
Today, Thumbay Group has evolved into a business house, with 1,5oo employees, 8o percent of whom hold executive positions. It has also diversified into businesses like hospita1s, pharmacies, laboratories, publications, optical centres, coffee shops, health clubs, trading, hospitality, etc.
2. Traditionally, doctor-entrepreneurs dominate the healthcare business. What inspired you to start a medical university, a multi-specialty hospital and a chain of pharmacies?
I strongly believe that if you save one life, you save the life of mankind, and this inspired me to start a medical college and a hospital. In 2008, GMC became Gulf Medical University (GMU). Later, a chain of Pharmacies were established by us.
3. How do you compare the medical education offered in Gulf Medical University to any world-class medical institution in the world?
GMU is among the few universities in the world to have successfully implemented the organ system-based curriculum in its medicine programme. It has started the unique Summer Training Programme, sending medical students to reputed medical institutions across the globe. GMU also hosts an Annual Scientific Research Meet for knowledge sharing between students and the practitioners.
GMU is fully accredited by the international bodies and agencies such as the Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research, U.A.E., WHO, Eastern Mediterranean Regional Health Professions Education Directory, Malaysian Medical Council, Nigerian Medical and Dental Council, and Iran, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. GMU is also an Institutional member of the Global Alliance for Medical Education, U.S., International Association for Dental Research, U.S., the Association for Medical Education in Europe, U.K, and the Institute of International Education, U.S.
In a survey conducted by Gulf News, GMU was identified as one among the 3o Symbols of Pride of U.A.E
4. Is there a delivery model that can reach quality healthcare to the poorest?
GMC Hospital has a dedicated Patient Affairs Department, which ensures good treatment to the poor and the needy at subsidised charges. Our motto is to see that no patient is refused treatment because of his inability to pay.
5. Is commercialisation of medical education an inevitable reality?
Government policies encourage private sector to share its burden of providing quality education and healthcare. Therefore, private medical institutions play a vital role in imparting quality medical education. To sustain the quality, an appropriate fee is charged.
6. How does the Thumbay Group leverage Dubaiís strategic location to expand in the region and in Africa?
U.A.E's strategic location and its excellent air connectivity makes it a bridge connecting Europe, Africa and Asia. Medical tourism is steadily increasing in this region due to the rising healthcare costs in the West. From our base in the U.A.E., the GMU and GMC Hospitals are also looking forward to establishing branches in Malaysia, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and India in the next five years.
7. What is your CSR footprint?
In addition to the subsidised medical treatment, we give scholarships to deserving and meritorious students to pursue medicine or allied health programmes through the Care & Share Programme. Students and the faculty from GMU regularly visit old-age homes, special needs children, and school students, to carry out free health checkups, to conduct awareness camps and to distribute medicines.
8. What are the Business plans for India?
India is a big market and we have expansion plans for metros and tiers-2 cities, in the next two years. We are also hoping to go in for private partnerships in the next five years.
9. How important are awards in recognlsing success?
Awards recognise success and help to sustain the drive and motivation.
10. How do you spend your weekends?
Reading, spending time with family, watching movies and dining together.
Compiled and published by Consulate General of India in Dubai