The ten-month-old Aastrika Midwifery Center (AMC) in South Bengaluru, which she launched last September, has so far registered 21 births. The six-bed center follows a woman-centered model of midwifery care, promotes physiological or normal childbirth while focusing on a range of non-pharmacological comfort measures for pain management and labor progression .
“Our infant and maternal mortality rates (in India) are still very high and far from the Sustainable Development Goals. Morbidity is high,” said Nilekani, a development economist with a PhD from Harvard University.
The seeded business, which is fully funded by her, is inspired by her own experience of becoming a mother, she added. AMC hopes to break even and generate profits over the next two years.
Nilekani, the eldest child of
co-founder Nandan Nilekani, holds a personal stake of 85.89 lakh shares in the software giant, which at the end of March 2022 had an estimated worth of Rs. 1,231 crores.
She is also the President of the Aastrika Foundation, a Nilekani Philanthropies initiative founded in 2019, with the aim of strengthening health systems through capacity building of health workers across the country.
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There are 65 hours of learning content on the Foundation’s Sphere online platform, which has approximately 8,000 users. No less than 2,035 certificates were issued for courses taken by practicing nurses, nursing students and midwives.
In addition to working with the central government as well as several state governments and schools of nursing, the Aastrika Foundation also works closely with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Other collaborations include those with the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the Maternity Foundation, Jhpiego (an international non-profit health organization affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University), among others.
Highlighting the strong influence of his parents’ philanthropic and development work combined with his Harvard University education which combined to steer him towards work in the ‘NGO’ sector, Nilekani said “sometimes I take advice from my father who was an entrepreneur at Infosys.
But “for many years it has focused on public goods and my mother has been a philanthropist for thirty years, so that (becoming an entrepreneur) is kind of the field left to my family.”
On July 5, Nandan Nilekani tweeted, “Our daughter Janhavi is working hard to transform maternity care and the birthing experience. Proud of her!”
Our daughter Janhavi is working hard to transform maternity care and the birthing experience. Proud of her! https://t.co/a1KEVKpF4o
—Nandan Nilekani (@NandanNilekani) 1656998443000
Acknowledging the “strategic directions” of his parents, Nilekani said they were curious about his decision to turn to entrepreneurship. “But for me, it’s a combination of politics and strategy to work in private healthcare as well as a passion project. I’m not really an entrepreneur. I wouldn’t start a channel.
Noting that she and her brother, Nihar Nilekani, followed academic paths, she said that all of her thinking at the Foundation (Aastrika) was “very influenced” by her parents.
“The Aastrika Foundation’s entire learning platform for nurses is based on the digital public goods created by the wider ecosystem of Nilekani Philanthropies,” according to the AMC founder.
The center trains 8,000 government nurses in addition to its own in-house staff. In addition, the center also “widely uses United Payment Interface, the digital public good that my father is very proud of. We benefit from digital public goods as much as any other consumer in the market,” she stressed.
“At AMC, medical interventions are only used when needed. Our interdisciplinary healthcare team of doctors, midwives and nurses follows the latest evidence-based international guidelines, strictly adhering to clinical protocols,” said the healthcare founder, who is married to the entrepreneur. of financial services Shray Chandra, who co-founded Capitalmind, an investment research firm. and wealth management startup.
Nilekani, a 2018 alumnus of Harvard University, where she received her doctorate in public policy, also holds a BA cum laude in 2010 in economics and international studies from Yale University.