At 35, the erudite and elegant Upasana Kamineni Konidela, Vice-Chairperson, CSR, Apollo Foundation, is the force behind making sure healthcare reaches as many people as possible. Based in Hyderabad, she recently launched the online wellness platform URLife, which caters to all looking for expert advice by certified and trained professionals. It has reached one million people through its social channels combined, recording a subscriber sign-up of 7.5 lakh at last count.
All the while Konidela blazes ahead, revolutionising children’s healthcare: In partnership with Saving a Child Initiative (SACHi), the Foundation is providing free digital consultation with Apollo doctors for the underprivileged young (16 years or under) pan India, with over 200 paediatric specialists on board as human capital.
Why now? “It is the Apollo vision that no child must be denied access to healthcare. With the pandemic surging forth through successive waves, children’s health deserves even greater focus with the vaccine available for the young ones posing a huge challenge,” says Konidela. Collaborating with NGOs to deepen the pan-India reach, the initiatives have gained momentum and larger dimensions in the wake of the pandemic. “After creating a success story with treating young ones afflicted with cancer, orthopaedic, and congenital issues, we have strengthened our resolve with SACHi. Wellness has to be treated like a medicine,” she says.
“We must encourage people to go to qualified doctors, dietitians and nutritionists. The pandemic has brought about new body composition and created a sort of vulnerability in us at many levels. People are hesitant to reach out to wellness experts. As part of SACHi, our doctors also counsel parents to alleviate their worries,” she says. Her stress is on certified voices as she believes there is a big difference between an influencer and an expert. An influencer is eating right, looking great, but cannot match the qualification and experience that an expert brings along, explains Konidela, who struggled with weight issues growing up too.
Then there is mental health. “People are apprehensive to reach out for help, which is why we have created videos to browse through digitally.” It is a tall legacy that Konidela lives up to. Her grandfather Dr Prathap C Reddy, the founder of the Apollo Hospitals empire, revolutionised healthcare in India.
Her maternal aunts – Preetha Reddy, Sangita Reddy, and Sunita Reddy – are directors at Apollo Hospitals. Konidela carries the torch forward zealously. “I have been working for more than 21 years now. My grandfather always says that I have been born in the family for a reason: I need to use it right, else it will be a waste of a lifetime. These words always stay with me,” she shares.
Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard