Not everyone is born with a silver spoon but some people reach such great heights that this phrase becomes dwarf in front of them. Coming from a small village of Kerala, the man we are talking about today became a doctor and built an empire of a whopping $5.7 billion by serving patients in huge numbers.
A few decades ago, freedom fighter Ahmed Unni Moopen from Kalpakancheri in Malappuram district, Kerala, fathered a baby boy in 1953 and named him Azad (meaning free) who breathed in his dream – an independent India. He gave him the best of everything he could afford and his son reciprocated the gesture by doing well in academics.
Azad completed his MBBS from Calicut Medical College, Kerela with a gold medal. He then chose to have a diploma in Chest Diseases from Delhi University. Upon completing his education, he started his career as a Medical Lecturer from Calicut Medical College where he served for five years. In 1987, he went to Dubai on a social visit and observed that there are a very few quality doctors there and the healthcare infrastructure could be pitied.
“People had to wait long hours to see a doctor and the situation was even more pathetic for those in the lower socio-economic group,” Azad recalls. He instantly made up his mind to turnaround the situation and within a few months he set up his first clinic in Dubai. The response he received from the patient was enough to push him on the entrepreneurial road.
It was all about opening the door when opportunity knocked, rather than complaining about the noise.
With vision and ambition gleaming in eyes, Azad started a chain of healthcare facilities under the banner Aster DM Healthcare which consists of 175 unit hospitals in West Asia followed by poly clinics, pharmacies and diagnostic centers in UAE, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia. His company now employs around 10,000 people in the Middle East, and serves more than seven million patients every year.
Not only abroad, Azad is an active founder of healthcare facilities that serve in his birth country India as well. His institute Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences employs around 3,000 people. He also started a 600-bed tertiary care in Kozhikode which turned out to be great venture and became the first multi-specialty hospital in India to receive National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers in 2007. Azad ventures did not stop and he established a second 150-bed MIMS hospital at Kottakkal in Malappuram district in 2009.
Azad has also founded MIMS Charitable Trust under his leadership which has adopted 7,000 people from below poverty line for free care. He has also founded Moopen’s Foundation that is actively involved in helping poor and underprivileged ones. He has recently donated 20 percent of his earning (around a billion dollars) for social activities the ‘Healing Touch’. Naseera Moopen Foundation, his family trust, is also actively involved in setting up the Human Resource Management Centre in his native village of Kalpakancheri to address the educational backwardness through intervention among school children and by parental counseling and training.
He also holds Pravasi Bhartiya Samman and Padma Shri awarded by the government of India. He has not only won accolades in India, but had also been ranked 6th among Top 100 Indian Leaders in UAE and according to Arabian Business, he ranks 29th in the 50 Richest Indians in the Corporation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, with the total wealth estimated to approximately $5.9 billion Forbes 2017.
After having started from the scratch as an entrepreneur Azad went on to build a vast empire that takes cordial care of the elderly, students and poor. With vision in eyes and hard work in his veins, he has now accomplished lot more than he would have ever expected. Leap of faith followed by a bright vision brought him where he is today.
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