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Working in the healthcare sector, Dr Rafiq has become all too familiar with stories of parents having to leave work as soon as their children catch a cold at their nursery or school.

“It’s a pity that some bosses may have bad impression on these parents,” Dr Rafiq pointed out.

This may be especially concerning because kids do not get ill just once or twice, but multiple times, during their toddler days.

“We think that this can be avoided by treating the child first (of course with the parents’ consent) without having the parent rush from work, disrupting their performance at work,” the doctor said.

Image Credit: ORION Clinic, Preschool and Childcare Centre

That’s why Dr Rafiq and his business partner, Dr Qayyum, came together to start ORION Clinic, Preschool and Childcare Centre (Orion).

A concept that combines a healthcare clinic, a preschool, and a childcare centre under one roof, here’s how Orion works.

A three-in-one solution

Led by Dr Rafiq, Orion Clinic is the flagship healthcare facility that underpins the business. It offers a range of medical services, from routine check-ups to acute treatments.

Then there’s Orion Preschool, which is a licensed school under the Department of Social Welfare. It follows the structure of the National Syllabus, designed to promote children’s learning, development, engagement, and safety.

Following a Montessori-styled approach, the preschool also offers physical fitness, Mandarin, and Iqra’ classes to ensure holistic development.

Image Credit: ORION Clinic, Preschool and Childcare Centre

Last but definitely not least is Orion Childcare Centre, which is a licensed childcare centre under the Department of Social Welfare.

Part of this is the nursery, which cares for infants as young as 12 weeks old.

But the main draw of the childcare centre and the pre-school is the fact that there are in-house doctors available. Specifically, Dr Qayyum is the in-house doctor cum principal who can immediately attend to students if they fall ill.

“By bringing together healthcare, preschool, and childcare services in one convenient location, Orion saves families valuable time and energy,” Dr Rafiq explained. “No more juggling multiple appointments and drop-offs.”

Balancing education and healthcare

Graduating in 2011, Dr Rafiq started his career as a doctor in Hospital Queen Elizabeth in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. After that, he got transferred to a few other hospitals, and lastly, to Hospital Serdang.

In 2019, though, he decided to resign from government service to start his own practice.

“After almost nine years serving the government and harvesting knowledge and experience from the job, I think I was well-equipped enough to have my own private practice,” he said.

He decided to set up shop in Cyberjaya, which he felt didn’t have many clinics still at the time.  

Together with Dr Qayyum, he came up with the idea to create a system where parents feel assured about their children’s safety and health.

Image Credit: ORION Clinic, Preschool and Childcare Centre

Believing in his vision, Dr Rafiq borrowed money from his family as well as applied for a loan from Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad (PUNB). With about RM400k, he and Dr Qayyum started the clinic and the childcare centre.

The two of them, who both got their medical degrees from Moscow, Russia, are the only medical doctors in the establishment.  

Joining them is a total of 15 teachers, who altogether cater to 59 students currently. The teacher-to-student ratio is as such:

  • Infants: 1 to 2.25
  • Toddlers: 1 to 4
  • Preschool: 1 to 5  

All school teachers and carers possess experience as an educator, Dr Rafiq assured.

While the school is Dr Qayyum’s domain, Dr Rafiq mans the clinic alongside six other staff members.

“They shouldn’t be worried about the kids being exposed to illnesses from the clinic as the clinic and the school are not interconnected,” Dr Rafiq clarified.

This is as the clinic is located on the ground floor while the school side of things is on the first floor. Kids who are unwell and need urgent medical attention will be brought to the clinic by the teachers to be examined and treated by the doctor.

A unique edge

The main money maker for Orion is the clinic, with 70% of the revenue coming from there, while the remainder is generated by the school.

For the preschool and childcare centre side of things, the pricing starts from RM1,200 per month.

Image Credit: ORION Clinic, Preschool and Childcare Centre

This fee is inclusive of monthly check-ups in the school and gives parents 10% off for every treatment in the clinic. The child’s immediate family members also can enjoy the discount at the clinic.

Believing in the potential of their concept, Dr Rafiq shared that they do have ambitions to expand into other areas, particularly those with a population similar to Cyberjaya.

When I first heard about Orion, I was sceptical about whether they were able to properly balance healthcare and childcare.

Nowadays, young parents seem to care more than ever about early childhood development to ensure they’re setting their kids up for success.

As an example, in the same vicinity as Orion is HEI Schools Cyberjaya, which we visited earlier this year. Specialising in Finnish education, I’d say the University of Helsinki-backed pedagogy there is pretty attractive for parents.

Image Credit: ORION Clinic, Preschool and Childcare Centre

However, Orion was founded by doctors, not educators. Are they truly equipped to teach children?

To that, they explained that Dr Qayyum, who is the principal, is focused on managing the school rather than teaching the children. The teaching and caregiving are left to the experts who do have the necessary qualifications and knowledge.

Where Dr Rafiq and Dr Qayyum shine is in the business and medical side of things, offering parents ease of mind with their wealth of medical expertise.  

  • Learn more about Orion Clinic, Preschool and Childcare Centre here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Orion Clinic, Preschool and Childcare Centre

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)