Aster DM Healthcare invests in Filipino youth

Sunday, December 27, 2015 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

Aster DM Healthcare recently opened its first clinic in the Philippines. As a multinational healthcare company that built a medical city on an island, it certainly is news that turned the heads of many hospital executives.

Whoever said the youth was our future probably didn’t realize how right he was, economics-wise. The millennial boom is everything.

Millennials have taken over the world. I’m not just talking about selfies and hashtags, mind you. These millennial puppies are smarter (and richer) than you think. They comprise about 50 percent of Asia’s buying power.

In terms of healthcare, the millennials make the Philippines quite a potential investment destination.

Aster DM HealthcareAster DM Healthcare says they want to give back. They say it is “entrepreneurial philanthropy” where you “grow a business by doing philanthropic activities”.

Well and good. I’m not one to take things at face value, but I’m not going to shoot down a multinational company’s efforts at bringing better healthcare to our country. God knows we need their help.


It all starts on a whim

“Dr. Sanjiv Malik and [Aster DM Healthcare Director] Alisha Moopen came to the Philippines in 2013 despite their busy schedules,” said Joyce Socao-Alumno, Country Manager of Aster DM Healthcare. After a quick tour of a government ward, they couldn’t help but reach out to the Filipino children suffering from congenital heart disease (CHD).

Save the Little HeartsThat was how Save the Little Hearts Program started: on a whim. Through the program, Aster DM Healthcare has helped 23 children with CHD.

Mobile healthcare

By mobile, I don’t mean cellphones and apps. I’m talking about ambulatory clinics, each of which is fully staffed with a doctor, nurse, radiologist, and med tech.

Imagine a clinic that goes from one place to another, bringing with it the equipment you’ll need for basic lab tests, plus a core health team to see to your needs. It may be a small effort by a foreign company to elevate us from our dreadful healthcare roots, but it’s a good start.

Alisha Moopen“No,” Aster DM Healthcare Director Alisha Moopen said when I asked her if the mobile clinic is all that the company will be setting up in the country. “Capital investment is not an issue,” she clarified.

However, they plan on starting small, she said. “We need more specialty hospitals to start with. The right expertise is what we need. Once we build that network with the doctors, we can give that kind of care.

“If you can bring back the doctors who migrated to other countries, then that would be great. We have to familiarize ourselves with the structure and the regulatory boards and build a network of doctors. From there, it’s easier to scale up.”

Should hospitals start looking at Aster DM Healthcare as competition? Alumno says that’s misguided. “A foreign healthcare conglomerate has entered the PH market. The intent is not to compete, but to collaborate.”

Aster DM Healthcare plans on giving us the right price for excellent services. I shall look forward to that. Meanwhile, Aster DM Healthcare has to answer a few questions we were itching to ask.

Part 3:
Aster DM Healthcare answers critical questions

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and contributes to The Manila Bulletin. Add her to your circles.