The Acibadem Medical Group which, from Turkey, shines throughout the world intends to conquer the West African health services market from an upcoming establishment in Senegal. On a visit to Dakar, its business development manager outlined the strategy and the added value that this Turkish multinational aims to bring to the health services sector. In this exclusive interview with allafrica.com, Mr. Kerim Koray Kebir assures us of the breath of fresh air that the Acibadem Medical Group will bring to Senegalese, and even African patients, regardless of income.
Could you please introduce your group to our readers ?
Acıbadem was founded as a small district hospital in 1991. Today, this name is a well-known global brand in the healthcare market. Acıbadem operates in 5 countries, namely Turkey, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia with 22 hospitals and 18 outpatient clinics with more than 3.000 beds and a total service area of 810.000 m2. In addition to hospitals and outpatient clinics, we are represented in 23 different countries with 43 Health Point information offices. Acıbadem has approximately 23.000 employees, including 4.000 doctors and 4.200 nurses. Overall we provide healthcare services to 5 million people in a year. Our rapid growth led the signing of a joint partnership with IHH Healthcare in 2012 which enabled us to be a part of the world's second-largest healthcare chain. IHH Group has 80 hospitals in 12 countries (Malaysia, Singapore, India, Brunei, Sri Lanka and China) with more than 15.000 beds and 65.000 employees.
Why have you decided to set up your group which is already present in 5 European countries, in Senegal ?
Today we have 22 hospitals, 18 outpatient clinics in Turkey, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Netherlands. Beside that, every year, many patients from different parts of the world travel to Turkey to receive treatment, and they prefer Acıbadem Healthcare Group which provides services using the most advanced technology worldwide and expert teams meeting the international quality standards. Acıbadem targets to carry its 30 years of know-how to create value in the region. Our aim is to get positive outcomes in the region by introducing our service quality. Our hospitals in 5 countries are already serving this purpose. We prefer to proceed both in our country and abroad with new hospital construction projects and possible acquisition projects pursuant to our growth strategy. When we make a decision on investments, we especially focus on type, location and probable partnership structures. Beside the hospital investment we have launched 43 contact offices located in 23 countries and 42 cities outside of Turkey. These offices are our first point of contact with international patients, and the healthcare system of the country. So we keep analyzing the local market, we keep learning from the experiences of local health system and improving relations with authorities to evaluate possible office and hospital investment projects.
Up to now, you are famous for having created a business model integrating hospitals, clinics and dedicated aid structures. Is this the same model that you are going to replicate in Africa?
We have created a business model for International Patients called Acıbadem Health Point. It is a Services Center that has been designed as a one-stop model that supports international patients from the day of first request until the time they return to their home country. Once International patients choose to come to Turkey for their treatment, they can easily get their travel and treatment plans from our colleagues. When they arrive to Turkey, they will be warmly welcomed at our Health Point desk at the airports. Then they will be transferred directly to to our hospital by private transportation. When they arrive at the hospital, our Health Point desk will be welcoming them and support them throughout their treatment within 20 different languages. We deploy the same model to all of our international patients.
Apparently, your group offers high standard medical services. Is your establishment targeting a high-end clientele rather than low-income Africans ?
We have created a business model for International Patients called Acıbadem Health Point. It is a Services Center that has been designed as a one-stop model that supports international patients from the day of first request until the time they return to their home country. Once International patients choose to come to Turkey for their treatment, they can easily get their travel and treatment plans
What kind of new services will you bring to the health system in Senegal and in Africa?
Today it is our initial approach to Senegal so we are very interested to understand the local healthcare system and the initial needs of patients. Beside that I can clearly say that, all of the hospitals within the group that meet the global standards, also stand out with the centers of excellence. 11 Cancer Centers (surgical, radiotherapy, chemotherapy), 16 Heart care Centers (pediatric and adult cardiology and cardiac surgery), 13 In Vitro Fertilization Centers, 10 Organ Transplantation Centers (liver, kidney, bone marrow), 9 Spine Centers, 1 Sports Medicine Center accredited by FIFA and 6 Robotic Surgery Centers are all among the nationally and internationally accredited and qualified centers due to their advanced technology equipment and experts that have significant experience in their own fields.
What kind of message do you want to deliver with the implementation of the ACIBADEM Medical Group in Africa ?
The first and the most important value offered to our patients is "patient safety and satisfaction". Each detail, including but not limited to doctors, nurses, technicians and support teams, infrastructure, diagnostic, operating room and advanced radiotherapy technologies, are all planned and applied to ensure that our patients receive better and more reliable healthcare services.