A Spring of Hope
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
India has over six million blind people and over 50 million malnourished children. It also has one of the highest rates of maternal deaths at childbirth in the world. Just some statistics that highlight the shortcomings of the healthcare sector in the world’s second most populous nation. But there is hope in the form of some private ventures that are addressing these problems and are establishing global standards for cost, quality and delivery. In the first of our three-part series on sustainability, Sachin Joshi writes about LifeSpring Hospitals, a network of maternity and child-care hospitals that provides high-quality, low cost maternal services to low-income women with clear and transparent pricing.
India alone has more than six million blind people and more than 50 million malnourished children. India has one of the world’s highest rates of maternal deaths at childbirth. Around the world, some 400,000 women and girls die each year from pregnancy and childbirth, and India accounts for almost a quarter of these maternal deaths, a vast majority preventable. According to a UN report, of the 358,000 maternal deaths in 2008, majority were from eleven developing countries.
The healthcare sector is marred with its own problems. Doctors and nurses are in short supply, healthcare centres are under-equipped and under-staffed, healthcare finance is inaccessible, drugs and treatment are expensive, and at times the physical distance between a patient and the hospital is huge. Furthermore, enormous potential for growth has been identified in healthcare. A McKinsey study projected the growth of healthcare in India over the first quarter of the century at 10 per cent, making it one of the rapidly growing sections of the Indian economy. The study further indicated that a vast improvement in awareness and a new infrastructure for healthcare in rural India would increase the use of these services there.
A few healthcare providers in India are establishing new global standards for cost, quality and delivery. They do it by sidestepping conventional approaches to medical practice and innovating new business models by incorporating business practices. LifeSpring Hospitals has developed a business model of running a network of hospitals that provide worldclass healthcare at extremely low prices mainly on the principle of high-asset use.
LifeSpring Hospitals is a network of maternity and child-care hospitals that provides high-quality, low cost maternal services to low-income women with clear and transparent pricing. It is a joint venture between the public-sector company, Hindustan Latex Ltd, and the US-based philanthropic funding agency, Acumen Fund.