Entrepreneurs

Sister Padma outside of the LifeSpring Hospital

Serving at LifeSpring – with a spring in her step

Editor’s note: LifeSpring is a chain of maternity care hospitals, providing high quality healthcare for low-income mothers and children. Acumen Fund has invested $1.9 million in the company.

On a recent visit to Hyderabad, I got a chance to visit one of the twelve LifeSpring Hospitals.  I take about an hour to reach Bowenpally , where this Center is located. As I walk into the small but cheerfully bright building, I pass by a board which displays the prices of service – $90 (Rs 5000) for a normal delivery and a Caesarean section at $220 (Rs 12000), which in my mind was incredible considering the cheapest private chains in the vicinity were 30-50% more expensive.

Sister Padma outside of the LifeSpring Hospital

I’m greeted by Sister Padmavati. “I’m the head of C&M” she declares with pride in Hindi. “Clinical and Medical management,” she offers at my quizzical look.  “I am responsible for all the staff, visitors and patients. I keep the hospital spick-and-span.” She had joined the hospital three years ago, when the branch had been inaugurated and said that she loved her role and the company.

She then proceeds to show me around – we peek into one of the rooms and see the ultrasound. The Pediatric doctor says hello from her cabin. Padma then shows off the operation theater, where the duty doctors had delivered two babies early in the morning. An adjoining room is equipped with a high-tech baby warmer. “We are only missing an incubator compared to the big, private hospitals,” she says.

We then proceed to the wards where mothers lie with their new-born babies. Shalini looks exhausted but is beaming with pride – at forty, she has had her first baby, something she had long thought impossible. Her husband ran a cycle repair shop in the vicinity, and added that they were thrilled with how everything had proceeded. Meanwhile, the good Sister Padma is dispensing free tips to Shalini’s father on how to care for his ailing knees.

Ameena sleeps in an adjacent twin bed. She has just had her second child, her first delivery had been at another private hospital but one of their relatives had used LifeSpring and had recommended it strongly. As I talk to the mother, Padma pacifies her crying baby and adjusts Ameena’s IV drip.

As I leave the bright, happy pink corridors behind, I reflect on the numerous people like Padma who are so critical in making the wheels of social enterprises move. She asks me if I will report back to the CEO, Anant Sir about my visit. I promise to her that I will report back, not just to him but to a whole lot of others.

___

Payal Shah is a Business Development Manager in the India office.

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