Interview with Mr. Sharad Agarwal, CEO, HLFPPT

Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT) is today a leading not-for-profit organisation in Reproductive and Child Healthcare. Its presence across 18 states and a union territory through 19 currently active programs is just a testimony of its strong commitment to reach every individual with affordable healthcare solutions. Over the last 23 years, it has enhanced quality of life of 90,000 People Living with HIV/AIDS, supplies more than 60% of all Social Marketing of Condoms in India and has facilitated more than 0.2 million institutional deliveries through its MerryGold Health Network, thus marking a strong foothold in the areas of HIV Prevention & Control, Maternal & Child Health, Family Planning and Adolescent Health.

As the Chief Executive Officer of HLFPPT, Mr. Sharad Agarwal has transformed and positioned the organization as a pioneer in Social Marketing and Social Franchising. In an exclusive interview, Mr. Agarwal talks openly about the multiple milestones covered.

Following are the excerpts:

Q. What’s the vision behind HLFPPT’s commitment towards Reproductive and Child Health?

At HLFPPT, we strongly believe that a healthy mother is the essence of blissful families and prosperous communities. Our very purpose of existence is to bring about positive changes in people’s life by sensitizing them about the importance of maternal, child and adolescent health. Since 1992, when HLFPPT was instituted by HLL Lifecare Ltd (a Mini Ratna PSE), our pursuit has been to build innovative, affordable and sustainable models of reproductive healthcare for the underserved.

Q. How is HLFPPT different from other organizations which work under the same idea?

Our focus on impact, professional approach and performance-based projects makes us unique in our field. We place emphasis on building long-term partnerships and devising innovative models. Our unique model of social franchisee hospitals and clinics under the brand name Merrygold Health Network is a classic case that offers quality RCH services at affordable rates. We have successfully conducted more than 1 million antenatal check-ups and 200 thousand institutional deliveries under the network across UP and Rajasthan. Now, we have also expanded the programme in Andhra Pradesh.

Q. Fortune India 500 Companies are increasingly selecting HLFPPT as a trusted partner for their CSR projects. What approach do you adopt to make them contribute for the humble cause?

Years of focus and determination for a specific cause have made us specialize in what we deliver. Basically, we have earned faith of several corporate organizations which are aware that the money they offer in terms of CSR is in safe hands. It’s all about credibility. We have been operating Mobile Medical Units in inaccessible terrains of Sukma and Dantewada districts of Chhattisgarh in collaboration with Essar Group Foundation; and in remote Jaisalmer and Barmer districts in Rajasthan with support from Suzlon. Recently, we inked agreements with DLF Foundation to operationalise four clinics, under the brand name of Merry Silver Clinics, at Gurgaon District in Haryana; and with Jindal Steel and Power Ltd for installing Condom Vending Machines (both male and female condoms) across the NCR.

Q. How successful have you been so far?

Through a slew of initiatives, we have successfully provided contraceptive protection to 4.6 million couples; reached out to 29 million High Risk Groups (female sex workers, men having sex with men, transgenders) and Vulnerable Population who are more prone to HIV infections (such as truckers and migrant workers); and facilitated 1.7 million HIV testings. These are not just numbers. Rather, each one represents a positive story of change and a lasting behavioural change we consistently thrive for. Our large presence across 19 states and a union territory speaks about our success stories. Moreover, HLFPPT is the largest and oldest social marketing organization of India.

Q. Is your organization willing to collaborate with other NGOs working for the same cause?

We would highly appreciate if other organizations are willing to join us in our efforts. In fact we do partner routinely with other organisations. For example, we implemented an immensely successful programme – Link Worker Scheme – in 12 districts of UP under the guidance of NACO in 2012-14, whereby we collaborated with 12 NGOs. Within two years, we reached out to 54,421 Vulnerable Populations, 4,853 High Risk Groups, and 894 PLHIVs.

Q. Do you wish to go global some day?

Why not? We definitely would want to go global. We have always believed in tertiary perspective i.e. understanding people’s needs, irrespective of their nationality.

Q. Apart from corporate organizations and PSEs, are there any provisions for individuals willing to support at their level?

We will be more than happy to accept donations at the individual level. At HLFPPT, even small donations make a big difference for us. Recently, we raised more than $5000 through crowdsourcing, where individuals donated as little as $10 under a campaign for "Safe Pregnancy & Delivery for 500 Poor Women In India". This was part of an Open Challenge on charity fundraising website, Global Giving. For further details, one is free to visit our official website

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