Shetty and his team of 40 cardiac surgeons at Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital are used to conversations like this one. They perform many more operations each year than comparable U.S. hospitals.
Shetty: This is a thousand-bed heart hospital. We do about 33 to 35 heart surgeries a day.
About a third of all of the patients at Shetty's hospital are farmers from rural villages. They're here because they have something called Yeshaswini insurance. It doesn't cover routine doctors visits for, say, a cough or a cold, but the insurance does cover all surgical procedures. The farmer pays approximately three cents a month; the government puts in one and a half cents and farmers cooperatives operate the program. Shetty believes there's strength in numbers.
For another story of medical developments coming from unlikely places, check out this story on battlefield medicine (this time from NPR).