Iwan Tumewa: Health, Lifestyle and Business

PHYSIOTHERAPY and rehabilitation services are vital in the world of medicine. However, hospitals in Indonesia do not pay much attention to these needs, which is why after surgery, for example, some patients do not fully recover as they do not get the required follow-up therapy.  

Iwan Tumewa, a graduate of the University of Melbourne Medical School, saw this as a business opportunity. In partnership with a colleague, Teddy Batanghari, a graduate from the US, he opened a clinic called Eastwest Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation on July 4, 2005.  

The clinic, which is located in Dharmawangsa Square, South Jakarta, was established to fill the void and aims to become the country’s leading provider of physiotherapy and rehabilitation services, on a par with the top clinics of the world. The clinic not only caters to people who need rehabilitation after surgery but also to athletes with muscle problems. “In the world of sports, such as rugby, badminton and soccer, athletes need the supervision of professional therapists,” said Iwan.  

In order to get international accreditation, Eastwest sends its staff abroad to get training, consults with experienced consultants and equips its facilities with sophisticated equipment, such as ultrasound machines, interferential current machine (to stimulate nerves) and nebulizers.  

Iwan reveals that Mike Lewis, a rugby player-cum-model of Canadian-Chinese-Indonesian blood, uses Eastwest’s service whenever he is in Jakarta and needs therapy. Lewis, he said, praised Eastwest’s services as “comparable to those in Canada”, where he was raised.  

Local and foreign doctors have often recommended Eastwest to its patients for rehabilitation after surgery, according to Iwan. “Some hospitals here have similar services, but only Eastwest specializes as a physiotherapy and rehabilitation clinic,” explained Iwan. Aside from the physiotherapy clinic, Iwan has other businesses. His father founded PT Airland Hilman Abadi in 1972 to produce spring mattresses carrying the brand of Airland. Iwan is the CEO of the company now.  

In 2002, Iwan established his own company, PT Prima Indonusa Kaison, which is engaged in the furniture business. Different from his father’s business, which focuses on the mass market, Iwan’s firm caters to a focus market segment, upper-end buyers, producing brands such as Savanna and Click-Clack. “No Indonesian businesspeople back then focused on producing high-class furniture,” said the tall man.  

In 2002, Iwan built a factory on 4,000 to 5,000 square meters of land in the Manis Industrial Estate in Tangerang with a total investment of Rp 5 billion. Iwan started the business with a core team of five people and 20 employees. Now, every month, the factory produces 250 to 300 Savana sofas, each priced at between Rp 5 and 50 million. Iwan no longer faces problems in terms of marketing as the brand is becoming popular.

“Most interior designers order our products,” he said, naming noted interior designers such as Tom Elliot Indonesia and Jeffrey Budiman as his clients. Some apartments and upscale hotels such as Apo Apartments, Pakubuwono Residence, Four Seasons Hotel & Residence, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Apartment Bellagio, Blitz Megaplex, Gloria Jeans Coffee, Cafe Excelso and Oh La La Bistro also use his company’s sofas.  

After gaining success in the sofa business, he then set up Eastwest. When he started the business, similar clinics had been established in Jakarta, Surabaya and Denpasar, which is an indication of the business’ potential. “However, our services are different because our therapists have international certification and their therapy techniques are always updated according to the latest international standards,” explained Iwan, who has a passion for cooking.  

Another hobby is mountain climbing. Mountains he has climbed include Mount Rinjani, Mount Kinabalu and a mountain in Bhutan. “I also climbed Mount Kenya in 1989 and got lost in the jungle for a week. But I finally found my way out by chance,” he said.  

Physiotherapy is closely related with people’s daily activities. When a person feels physical strain or pain, they should consult a doctor. Various parts of the body can be affected, such as the neck, shoulders, hands, arms, back, hips, knees and ankles, as can muscles, bones and joints (tendonitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke). Children can also suffer various illnesses, such as Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. Basically anyone can be affected.  

According to Iwan, the majority of Eastwest’s patients — about 60 percent — need treatment on their backs and knees, while the rest complain about pain in the neck, arms, hands, elbows and shoulders. Some patients also visit the clinic for post-stroke treatment. The clinic also offers massages for babies and for those with mastitis (infection of breast tissue), especially among breast-feeding women.   

So, Eastwest not only caters to adults, but also to children and babies, even those who are only two weeks old. Some of the babies or children suffer from sprains, while others sleep poorly or have poor appetites. The baby massage improves circulation and leaves a baby feeling refreshed and relaxed.  

Eastwest’s aim is to deliver world-class therapy. It has numerous customers in Jakarta who previously had to fly to Singapore for similar services. The clinic sees 10 to 20 patients each day, the majority of which are expatriates. “Well, we understand our marketing objectives and target,” Iwan said. Iwan was a founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, of which he was the president from 1998 to 2008. (Burhan Abe)  

The Jakarta Post, January 06, 2010

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