Dubai-based Aster DM Healthcare, promoted by NRIs, has tied up with University hospital in Nigeria, to set up centres of excellence (CoEs) and a telemedicine unit. Within India, its key ongoing project is the Aster hospital project in Chennai, which will be commissioned in 2020. \u201cIn Nigeria, we\u2019ve signed a partnership pact recently with Afe Babolola University Ado Ekiti to set up CoEs across specialities, so that the gaps in the African country\u2019s healthcare infrastructure can be addressed. The doctor-patient ratio in Nigeria currently stands at 1:2,500, as opposed to a minimum ratio of 1:1,000 recommended by the WHO. Aster\u2019s pool of health specialists will also be harnessed for telemedicine initiatives,\u201d says Aster DM Healthcare chairman Dr Azad Moopen. Within India, the Rs 6,760-crore group\u2019s next major initiative is the Rs 400-crore hospital project in Chennai. \u201cAlthough we have been spreading out our asset portfolios in South and West India, we were yet to have a foothold in Tamil Nadu. The 500-bed hospital facility in Chennai will be operational in a year or two,\u201d Dr Moopen told FE. The 200-bed hospital in Kannur is slated to be ready this fiscal. Across the globe, Aster DM Healthcare has 20 hospitals and 112 clinics, manned by more than 17,600 employees. It has the largest pharmacy chain in GCC with 213 retail stores spread out in the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. Aster DM Healthcare has set aside a Rs 15-crore fund in August for aiding the reconstruction of flood-hit Kerala. Dr Moopen had handed over Rs 2.5 crore to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan for the Distress Relief Fund, and the remaining Rs 12.5 crore will be used to build new houses for people in the disaster-affected areas. This was part-funded by the CSR of Aster Group and donations from the individual promotors. \u201cThe target is to complete the project by the monsoon next year,\u201d Harish Pillai, CEO, Aster Hospitals & Clinics (India), said.