How a 16 Year Sabbatical Didn't Stop this Doctor from "Starting-up"
It is not every day you come across a woman who after 16 years of sabbatical starts up a rural healthcare project. A farmer and lawyer's daughter, Dr Archana Patil got married, had kids but the doctor inside her was restless and not willing to sit back. That is when in March 2014 she started Lifecare Hospital in Maharashtra. She tells us her story:
Why she started
Dr Archana started this project in Udgir Taluka of Latur District which is in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka border. In these areas farmers are killed by draughts. Out of 10 – 6 people have no income or health insurance. Women are embarrassed to speak about their health issues and by the time they reach hospital, it is too late. There were no hospitals providing low cost health benefits to these farmers.
This is when Dr Archana decided to visit 86 villages and educate the farmers on healthcare. She adopted 44000 farmers. These farmers get access to a free OPD. The hospital charges are as low as Rs 50/-
How did she do it
The entire staff of the hospital comprises of the local boys who were trained for 8 months to get the place up and running. This also provided a lot of jobless local people opportunities to grow. She borrowed money and put all her savings into setting up the hospital.
Dr Arachana has a team of over 35 doctors, super specialists and specialists to treat whoever comes to the hospital.
What sets the place apart
Dr Archana realized 130 beds were not enough for the place, that’s when they put up 250 beds. The hospital has 7 operation theatres and an ICU. They charge only Rs 10000 from giving birth and give a complimentary breast check-up to every woman who comes for an ultrasound.
Challenges and the economics
The journey for Archana hasn’t been easy. Raising a hospital with top notch facilities was a challenge. Latur is a village with barely any facilities. Dr Archana faced issues with things as small as power cut. She is now trying to setup a solar panel for the entire hospital. The services provided come at a fair, and there is absolutely no inflation in the costs.
Dr Archana says there are times when her balance sheets go in negative but the pleasure of serving of the farmers and poor keeps her going. She challenged the economics of the entire medical industry.
Dr Archana realizes she has a mammothic task and finances will always be a challenge. She would want to setup more hospitals in rural areas, she wants to grow the first one and make it a success. They do regular camp to spread awareness but there is a long way to go.