A chat with Conduit Connect member Sylvana Sinha, Founder of Praava Health
What made you start Praava?
The inspiration for Praava Health came from my own nightmarish experiences with the Bangladeshi healthcare system. When my mother suffered complications from a routine surgery in a Bangladeshi hospital, the doctors hardly gave us the time of day. I distinctly remember running up several flights of stairs, chasing after the doctor to get him to answer my basic questions. Several other relatives were wrongly diagnosed with cancer, resulting in countless extra visits and scares for our family.
I went on a global listening tour to learn about the challenges of the Bangladeshi healthcare system and learn from other models that work. I would soon come to realise that many people in this country have a story to share about the negligence they have experienced. I learned that cost and access are big problems, especially for the middle class, who are caught between an underfunded public system and an overly-expensive private system.
But above this, I learned that Bangladeshis do not trust their doctors and feel demeaned at each visit. Across the board, patients told me: our doctors don’t answer our questions; they don’t even look us in the eye. I resolved to build a company that would restore trust and dignity to the Bangladeshi health system.
What would constitute success for Praava?
I envision a Bangladeshi health system that is grounded in quality and powered by cutting-edge technology. After two years of successful operation, we’re expanding our “brick and click” model (quality brick and mortar health services enabled by integrated technology) across urban areas in Bangladesh with a network of smaller spokes that are connected to bigger hubs.
We want to enhance our technology to increase access to our quality services for the middle class, as well as the masses who also struggle to find quality healthcare. This includes building a 360-degree healthcare app where everything a patient needs can be found in one place: from booking appointments and reviewing records, to chatting with doctors and renewing prescriptions.
I would also love to see our electronic medical record system become the go-to solution across Bangladesh, so all health facilities can seamlessly integrate patient records to help manage patients’ care.
Our vision is to create a new kind of care in Bangladesh, where a doctor visit is no longer a transactional, one-sided encounter between doctor and patient, but a dignified experience where patients are empowered to manage their health.