Acumen Fund and Hindustan Latex Form Joint Venture to Provide Health Care to Low-Income Communities in India

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LifeSpring Hospitals to Focus on Maternal and Child Health Care

Acumen Fund is excited to be working with Hindustan Latex in this joint effort to provide affordable access to high quality maternity and child health care services in India

Acumen Fund, a nonprofit venture philanthropy fund that invests in social enterprises addressing poverty in South Asia and Africa, and Hindustan Latex (HLL), a leading provider of health care solutions in India, today announced the formation of LifeSpring Hospitals (Pvt.) Limited -- a joint venture intended to create a chain of small hospitals (20-25 beds) focused on providing low-income clients in India with widespread access to maternal and child health care services. Acumen's initial $2 million equity investment in the new company, a 50/50 equity partnership between Acumen and HLL, will support LifeSpring's plan to open five hospitals in 2008 and thirty across India by the end of 2010.

"Acumen Fund is excited to be working with Hindustan Latex in this joint effort to provide affordable access to high quality maternity and child health care services in India," said Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of Acumen Fund. "The LifeSpring Model holds enormous potential to scale not only in India but also to serve as a global model for increasing access to quality, affordable health care for the world's poor."

"Hindustan Latex is committed to the health and well being of every member of India's society. Our investment in LifeSpring will help ensure that, regardless of family income, all mothers and children in our country will receive the critical health care services they need," said Sri M. Ayyappan, Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Latex and LifeSpring Hospitals Pvt. Ltd.

"The emergence of LifeSpring as a chain of high-quality and affordable maternity hospitals designed to serve the low-income populations of India will bring new hope to thousands of families in India," said Anant Kumar, head of Lifespring Hospital Pvt. Ltd.

More than one hundred thousand women lose their lives in India every year due to pregnancy-related complications, and an equal number suffer moderate to severe infections. A majority of these deaths could be averted with proper maternal care, effective referral and institutional delivery of health services. Since the creation in 2005 of its original hospital, LifeSpring has not had a single mortality - an indication of the high quality care that serves as the model for the new LifeSpring hospital network. Hoping to replicate this success on a larger scale in the coming years, LifeSpring plans to scale in India to 140 franchised hospitals between 2010 and 2012 and aspires to serve as a model for the provision of high quality maternal and child health care services to the world's poor. Over the next five years an estimated 82,000 women will benefit from LifeSpring's expanded services.

High health care costs significantly contribute to poverty in India, and studies reveal that health expenditures are one of the largest causes of rural indebtedness. Over a third of India's population lives in poverty, with fertility rates of 4.1 children per woman for the poorest quintile, compared to fertility rates of 2.1 children per woman for the richest quintile (World Bank 2003). Until recently, pregnant women in India wishing to give birth in a hospital had to choose between two polar ends of a spectrum, either lower-priced government or trust hospitals, or higher-priced private hospitals. High quality care was equated with high prices, leaving low-income women with few options and often forcing them to sell assets or borrow money to pay for vital health care services.

LifeSpring charges between 30-50% of the prevailing market rates. With 80% of all health care expenditures in India out-of-pocket, LifeSpring will significantly lessen the burden of rising health costs on the nation's low-income communities, helping to reduce poverty.

The support provided by Acumen Fund and Hindustan Latex will allow LifeSpring hospitals to focus on delivering to low-income women the following key services: antenatal care, postnatal care, deliveries (normal and caesarean) and family planning services and medical termination of pregnancy. LifeSpring hospitals will also provide pediatric care, including immunizations, as well as diagnostic services, a pharmacy and health care education to the communities in which they are located.

About LifeSpring
LifeSpring's core mission is to provide quality affordable maternity and child health care to women and children from low-income households across India. To this end, Lifespring aims to establish and run hospitals, dispensaries, clinics, pharmacies, clinical and pharmaceutical laboratories, and offer consultancy services to manage other hospitals and medical establishments. For more information on LifeSpring Hospitals, please visit http://www.lifespringhospitals.com .

About Acumen Fund
Acumen Fund is a nonprofit venture fund that invests in market-oriented approaches for delivering critical, affordable goods and services to the world's poor. Acumen Fund's efforts focus on the convergence of philanthropic capital and business expertise to produce sustainable, scalable enterprises that reach underserved markets and open access to the opportunities of the global economy. For more information on Acumen Fund's activities and investments, visit http://www.acumenfund.org.

About Hindustan Latex
Hindustan Latex Ltd. (HLL), set up in 1966, is India's leading provider of a wide range of contraceptives, hospital products, pharma products and health care solutions. Today, HLL is a multi-product organization with five manufacturing units addressing various public health challenges, a vast array of innovative products and services, and a strong presence in the commercial and social sector segments across the country. HLL is on a path of rapid growth, having drawn up a comprehensive plan to expand its portfolio in the area of health care and contraceptives through technical collaborations, marketing alliances and joint ventures. With its vision of "Innovating for Healthy Generations," HLL wishes to keep alive the dream of all humanity - of a healthier, happier world. For more information on HLL, please visit http://www.hindlatex.com.

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