The book “Healer: Dr. Prathap Chandra Reddy and the transformation of India” discusses the Apollo hospitals and the man behind the endeavour

Apollo. The word evokes associations aplenty when one thinks of healthcare in India and how its face has changed over the last three decades after the establishment of the first corporate chain of hospitals in India, the Apollo Hospitals.

On a chilly evening last month that brought one to The Oberoi, however, it was not this illustrious enterprise that was being celebrated. In “Healer: Dr. Prathap Chandra Reddy and the Transformation of India”, author Pranay Gupte also celebrated the man behind the enterprise. The biography, worked upon for nearly two years with support from the Reddy family, was launched by Union Minister of Finance P. Chidambaram in the presence of other political luminaries like Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Jaswant Singh and Chiranjeevi along with the Reddy family and their friends, colleagues and well-wishers. The evening, also marked 30 years of Apollo Hospitals, began with a beautiful flute recital by Raghu Raman, followed by a reading of some of the book’s passages by theatre actor and director Amir Raza Hussain to a riveted audience in the Ballroom.

The thick Penguin volume traces Dr. Reddy’s journey from his childhood in Aragonda, a village in Andhra Pradesh, through medical school in Chennai to a successful cardiology practice in the US followed by his return to India at the age of 50, and after. Suneeta Reddy, his daughter and Joint Managing Director at Apollo Hospitals explained the idea behind the book: “Over the years there’ve been many moments where someone would come up to me and say – fifteen years ago your dad said this and it made a difference, ten years ago your dad did this and it made a difference – and it was felt that it is important to chronicle this. So, when Mr. Pranay Gupte approached us, my sisters and I thought that it was the best way to chronicle the transformation of the face of healthcare that my father has brought about in India, as also to chronicle the man himself.”

P. Chidambaram, unveiling the book, expressed his happiness at being able to release the biography of a man whom his family has known for nearly 60 years. “The Apollo model is one of the most successful models of delivery of healthcare in the world, and the first model to bring Government and private healthcare together. It has now been copied by several other entrepreneurs in India but, let’s remember, the pioneer in this was Dr. Reddy and I want to specially complement him for that,” he said.

Dr Reddy himself, humble, unassuming and overwhelmed, said that his journey was that of fulfilling a dream: “Looking back over the years, I feel that everything has been worth it. Today, I derive satisfaction from the way the Apollo family has grown and become a part of the Indian healthcare system. But our journey has just begun.”

The evening was concluded by the author Pranay Gupte, reading out the book’s epilogue.

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