DUBAI: The government primary health
centre in Kerala’s Vazhakkad, which was destroyed in the 2018 floods, was
rebuilt last month with funding support from Dr Shamsheer Vayalil — an NRI
entrepreneur who hails from the South Indian state.
Vayalil is the founder, chairman and managing director of VPS Healthcare, a
leading healthcare service provider in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations
as well as India.
Speaking on the community
participation in the project, he said, “We wanted all members of the
community to be a part of the initiative. Experts from different fields, along
with the local population, came together to make this endeavour a
The chairman added, “The
participation and involvement of people from various walks of life, including
the best brains of IIT-Madras and Government Engineering College, Thrissur, has
added value to the project and the result is visible. The credit for the
success of the project also belongs to the people who have selflessly
associated with us.”
The 15,000 sq. ft. family health centre — reconstructed at a cost of Rs 10
crore — is the first of its kind in the country to promote the concept of
total health and wellness. The building is eco-friendly and energy-efficient,
has an open gym and a play area for children, and is disabled-friendly.
“While businesses must build critical mass and grow revenues, they should
also play an integral role in facilitating transformative changes in society. I
believe that when you give, you grow, and this philosophy is integral to the
corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of VPS Healthcare. We take
immense pride in our community-centric initiatives that improve the lives of
people,” Vayalil told TIMESOFINDIA.com.
“Vazhakkad is home to ordinary people who had relied on the primary health
centre for most of their routine medical check-ups and needs,” said Dr K
Sakeena, a district medical officer. The facility used to attend to around
75,000 people annually. Now renamed as Family Health Centre, it is expected to
see around 200,000 patients a year.
VPS Healthcare is an integrated healthcare service provider with 24 operational
hospitals, over 125 health centres and medical support services spread across
the GCC and India. It also runs one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing
plants in Dubai and operates retail pharmacies across Abu Dhabi.
“We have a truly global workforce comprising more than 13,000 people
belonging to 78 nationalities. Many Indians work in our hospitals and other
companies across verticals with varying levels of experience. We have Indians
working in the roles of doctors, nurses, support staff and administrative
officials,” Vayalil said.
The group is involved in a host of initiatives that reflect responsibility
towards society. During the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, VPS Healthcare
extended support to the state government by supplying medicine and safety
equipment worth Rs 2 crore. In 2010, jobs and education assistance were offered
to the families of the air crash victims in Mangalore. Artificial limbs and
wheelchairs have also been donated to the differently abled in Kerala.
“The desire to give back to society is at the heart of all our
philanthropic endeavours. We aim to create a positive social impact through our
CSR and charity initiatives in the GCC as well as India. Our work in disaster
response has touched the lives of many,” Vayalil said. In 2018, when
devastating floods caused massive destruction in Kerala, he lent a helping hand
to the state government by sending 100 tonnes of medicines and relief material
worth Rs 12 crore via a special aircraft.
Reconstructing the primary health centre at Vazhakkad is part of the next
phase, in response to the Rebuild Kerala initiative.
Vayalil lives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but his parents and extended
family are in Kerala. “Before the Covid-19 pandemic changed the world as
we know it, I would travel to India at least once a month to visit my family as
well as attend business and board meetings. Today, I travel less as most of the
business meetings have gone online,” he said.
With restrictions eased, he has resumed trips to India and other
countries. His most recent visit to India was in February 2021 to meet the
Chief Election Commissioner to discuss the voting rights of NRIs, an issue
which is close to his heart.