Radhika is a Doctor passionate about saving and building healthy lives for infant children.
"Welcome to change-making your lives will never be the same again.”
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
I was born to doctor parents, my mother heads the department of obstetrics and gynecology at a busy tertiary care hospital, and my father is a world renowned endocrinologist. Growing up, I saw my parents go the extra mile for their patients and treat every single patient as their own family. They used to stop at accident sites to help, and twice I saw my dad save someone from drowning at our local swimming pool, reviving them with CPR. All of these experiences made me want to be a doctor as well, have that magical superpower to save lives and go above and beyond the call of duty.
Have you had any formal training or family business?
I have a bachelors degree in medicine ( MBBS) followed by an MD in Pediatrics. I have recently finished my super specialisation in Neonatology ( the science of newborn babies) and I have also a post-graduate degree in Pediatric Nutrition from Boston University.
Tell us about your venture and what inspired you to take this challenge, and get started?
During my residency days I, saw several children die or become disabled for reasons that simple timely interventions could have easily prevented. Day and day out I was tormented by one all consuming thought - that there are diseases that one is born with and some that we have no cure for, But these Children are dying, or leading a life of darkness for reasons we could have done something about. I understood that lakhs of children every year become blind due to a lack of nutritious food and vitamin A deficiency. This according to me was one of mankind's most shameful failings, and I decided to take steps to try and bridge the horrendous inequities in the healthcare space- that's how Every Infant Matters was born. Our flagship project deals with giving malnourished children Vitamin A drops to prevent them from going blind. We run a holistic health program that deals with deworming, promotion of breastfeeding , dispelling myths related to children. We give pregnant women prenatal vitamins, to give every child a healthy start in life. Additionally, as the pandemic waged war over the world - we dedicated a lot of our energy to COVID19 relief programmes.
We now have projects in 5 countries and have successfully been able to save almost 200,000 children from going blind.
What has been your proudest moment?
During the humanitarian crisis of the delta wave back in April 2021, I created a 165 member volunteer force that worked round the clock to connect patients and their families to life-saving resources - like oxygen supplies, hospital and ICU beds, ambulances, food supplies, medicines. They were verifying leads off the internet in real-time and conveying the correct verified information to patients' families. Slowly the word spread and People reached out to us from all over the country. The volunteers included doctors, medical students, professionals from all walks of life and even high school and college students. Seeing them work at it 24/7, so deeply invested in helping others, and successfully tackle over 33,000 cases by way of a movement that I created, has definitely been one of my proudest moments in life.
I told the volunteers "Welcome to change-making your lives will never be the same again.”
What are some of the biggest challenges you faced as an entrepreneur?
As a woman in a country like India, every time to try and do something out of the box you are faced with huge obstacles. One is constantly bombarded with questions like "what will society think?" And, "why are you not focused on getting married and starting a family?" I was often told, that all the success in the world is worthless and these lives saved mean nothing if I don't have a husband and child.
These remarks were extremely unnerving and discouraging at first, and often sent me spiralling into depressive thoughts.
The other challenge I faced was related to a lack of knowledge. I came from a medical background with practically no exposure in the fields of administration, finance and non-profit management. Slowly, I built my knowledge base by garnering support from the best in these fields and also by way of reading up and doing online courses.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting out, especially in a different country?
I would advise them to not wait any longer. I've always believed in the quote-
"If not me then who, if not now then when?"
You are not too young to lead, you are not too old to learn. Get up, stand up, make a difference and make the future. Carpe diem.
Given a chance would you alter any of your life decisions?
If I could go back in time I’d spend less time pondering over and pay less attention to others' opinions of me - what they say about me and how they feel. I read somewhere that you could be one of the ripest, juiciest peaches in the orchard, but there's still going to be someone who hates peaches. Over time, I've realised the importance of this quote.
What's coming up with Every Infant Matters?
We have a lot of exciting new projects coming up. We will now start working at the intersection of health and climate change and also focus on health systems strengthening in hard-to-reach inaccessible areas.
Dr Radhika Batra, MD
Founder & President
Every Infant Matters
Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Honoree- Social Entrepreneurs 2020
Ambassador, One Young World, UK
Trust Conference Changemaker, Thomson Reuters Foundation, UK
Global Peace Index Ambassador, Institute for Economics & Peace, Sydney
WEDU Global Changemaker and Rising Star
Contributor, Project Syndicate
Contributor, Thrive Global
Senior Resident, Employees' State Insurance Corporation Hospital, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India