The Power of 2: “It Takes Two to Tango”
Taking the first glance at the exterior, it looks just like any mediocre clinic. But stepping inside, one should certainly not judge a book by its cover. The clinic is on top of its game when it comes to serving patients. Primer Cherang is the brainchild of two young doctors, Dr. Mohd Rahimie Sayutti and Dr. Mohd Safwan Saifudin. Born and raised in Kelantan, both had worked at Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II in Kota Bharu, Kelantan prior to having a lightbulb moment to set up their establishment.
“It is not an easy move. We took five years before proceeding with the plan. Opening up a clinic requires more than just capital because you are in the business that deals with the patients’ health, you need a team of medical practitioners that you can trust,” Rahimie says. Time is another motivating factor for him to venture into the private healthcare sector. According to Rahimie, working as a doctor in a general hospital means having to put patients above family members. As a result, he ends up disregarding his sick mother. “I could not spend time to treat my mother when she was sick due to my workload. Hence, I decided to open a clinic so I can have more family time without neglecting my patients,” the 37-year old adds.
Rahimie further explains that they had intended for their clinic to stand out from the rest, thus the idea of a mega boutique clinic. “Our utmost priority is the comfort of our patients. We decided to go big in terms of space, as well as to provide a homey feeling for patients. We also want Primer Cherang to be a one-stop center for our patients. We have X-Ray, Full Blood Count (FBC), Biochem Machine, ultrasound machine, and Physiotherapy so that our patients will not have to go elsewhere for additional treatment,” he adds.
The first branch started its operation in Kota Bharu back in 2013. Last year, a second branch was opened in Johor Bahru and a third branch will open late this year in Kota Damansara. “We prioritize quality instead of quantity, which is why we take time opening other branches. We want a holistic and comprehensive service for our patients,” says Rahimie.
However, the road to entrepreneurship is never smooth sailing as private clinics are the spearhead in assisting the government in providing the best healthcare services for the people. It is often an uphill task to look in-depth of their condition without compromising its quality. “The other challenge lies in finding good doctors who care for the patients more than everything else. We received offers from other doctors for collaboration, but we are very meticulous when choosing our doctors. It pays to have good doctors in your team,” Rahimie says, insisting that internal control of the clinic is crucial for private clinics to thrive.
Primer Cherang has received many patients who are seeking treatment for joint, as well as knee-related issues. Rahimie adds that most of the patients are willing to travel interstate to seek care at Primer Cherang. “Many of them are senior citizens and adults who are active in sports. They prefer Primer Cherang for treatment because of our all-round facilities.” Natural injection treatment for knee pains is also available at Primer Cherang and it requires no surgery and medicine. “It is a technique we learn from the United States, and more than 8,000 patients had benefited from this treatment,” Rahimie says, adding that Primer Cherang also provides physiotherapy in addition to supplying medicine for joint.
The innovative and entrepreneurial nature of the clinic was exemplary during the Movement Control Order (MCO) earlier this year when the pandemic was ravaging the country. While other businesses are worried about their survival, Mohd. Safwan said they too had toyed with the idea of whether Primer Cherang should call it a day, but they continue their operation in a creative way that meets the criteria of the new normal. “During the MCO, Primer Cherang provided drive-thru service, where patients did not have to leave their car to get their treatment and injection. We also have the PrimerCherang2U program, where we approach our patients virtually through online platforms, and we sent the medicine prescribed to them through delivery,” Safwan explains.
Safwan adds that in the months-long battle against Covid-19, Primer Cherang played their part by providing the Covid-19 swab test to assist and ease the burden of their colleagues working in government hospitals.
Other than clinics, Primer Cherang caters to private ambulance services for patients on the East Coast. They took another step forward by rolling out their own health products – Primer Cherang Vit C, Primer Cherang VC Rose Cream, Primer Cherang VC Rose Cleanser, Primer Cherang VC Rose Baby Oil, Primer Cherang Joint Care. “Not only it contains the much-needed vitamin, but Primer Cherang Vit C is also made up of anti-oxidant and fatty acid for skin hydration, reducing dark spots and scars on the skin as well as helping with the digestion process. We want to help others earn a side income by becoming our agents,” Safwan adds. The product is approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and it contains 30 pallets per bottle, each sold at RM 19.
“For the brightening cream, it aims to improve the skin by brightening, moisturizing, and reducing visible scars and can be applied to every part of the skin. It does not matter whether the user is a male, female, adult or kid, our product is safe for all consumers,” says Safwan, adding that VC Rose Cream is sold at RM29 per bottle.
Rahimie and Safwan could not attribute the jump in their career to individual efforts. “For us, our journey shows the power of two. You need each other to face the ups and downs of the business world. We face difficulties together, and we enjoy our success together. We believe that for our success, there is a provident for someone else, which is why Safwan and I need each other to succeed,” Rahimie adds.
The doctor duo also credits their success to their respective families. “I would like to take the opportunity to thank my parents, Encik Sayutti Hussin and Puan Aidah Mohd Salleh as well as my wife, Dr. Wan Nor Aina Ar Mardiyah Wan Jeffery for being the constant rock in my career. I would also like to thank my in-laws, Encik Wan Jeffery and Puan Che Zarina, and my children, Qaisara Marissa, Qasrina Nadhira, and Qhaleef Aidan for being a support and the encouragement I need,” says Rahimie.
“My families, especially my parents, my spouse, my children, and even my in-laws played a big role in how far we have achieved. My parents and my wife, Encik Saifudin Mohamad, Puan Wan Rosliza Wan Ramli, and Dr. Siti Sarah Ahmad Fadzil are my greatest supporter. Of course, my kids and my in-laws, Safiyya, Syafi, Sufi, Encik Ahmad Fadzil Mohamed, and Puan Zaiton Mohd Shah give me the encouragement that I need to succeed,” Safwan adds.
The doctors also extend their gratitude to those who have helped them in their journey to where they are today. “Special thanks to those who have to lend a hand to us when we needed them, we could not have done it without their support.”