Jan. - Feb. 2002   
  Vol. 2 No.1   
Message from J. N. Godrej
Know Your Founders Oddities, Eccentricities, Etc. Of Enduring Interest Archival Interest Corporate Commentary Back to Main Page Editorial

CORPORATES AS FAMILY PLANNERS
 

ďOur sights are set on breaking the shackles of illiteracy, unemployment 
and poverty. We are confident that what may seem like a Utopian dream 
can become absolute reality through determination and perseverance. Our crusade has begun, and we are ready 
to go every inch and every mile to meet the expectations of our employees, our stakeholders and the society. This is our mission.?/font>

LARSEN & TOUBRO MISSION
Care Knows No Confines

Larsen and Toubro commenced operations as a partnership firm in 1938 set up by two immigrant Danish engineers, Henning Holck-Larsen and S.K. Toubro, representatives of SL Smidth & Co. Larsen and Toubro (L&T) was subsequently incorporated as an Indian company in 1946 and went public in 1951. Over the years the Company has made significant progress in its core business of engineering and construction as also in cement.

But what made L&T a name imprinted on our nationís memory? L&T is akin to a family with strong bonds based on giving and sharing. Relationships are founded on trust, appreciation and empathy. It is conscious of the fact that its employees are committed to the organisation and devote their most productive years towards the organisationís success. In return, it understands its responsibility towards them it begins with worker welfare.

One of the main objectives of an industry in having welfare services for its employees is to promote physical and mental health of employees and their families, thereby generating goodwill and a sense of belonging to the organisation. L&Tís most significant contribution to employee welfare is the services at its Health Centre, Mumbai, provided free of cost to employees, their families and the community at large. This Centre is recognised by the Mumbai Municipal Corporation for its two most important national programmes:
*Implementation of Family Welfare Programme as per the rules and regulations of the Government of India. It is also a recognised Centre for Medical Termination of Pregnancy.
*Immunization of children.


It all started way back in 1967 at L&Tís factory premises at Sion by Dr. (Mrs.) Usha Krishna, who joined the Company as Medical Advisor in the same year. The aim was to bring about awareness in and effectively practise Family Planning. The Company conducted a survey of its employees with a view to assessing the need and acceptability in Family Planning. Its coverage was 70 per cent. Ever since, periodic surveys continued. 93 per cent of the employees were investigated by the year 1970. During the course of surveys workers were contacted individually and the necessary data obtained and entered in the Family Planning service cards. This has been regularly updated.

In pursuance of the findings of the surveys, L&T set up a Family Planning Clinic at the cost of Rs. 20,000/- in its factory premises at Sion. The inauguration was done by Dr. B.N. Purandare, Head of Dept. of Gynaecology at K.E.M. Hospital. A Family Planning Week was organised with exhibition and films. The location, Sion, was convenient to the families of employees to attend the Clinic since the Company did not provide any housing facility. The Clinic was run twice a week Thursdays and Saturdays from 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. About 50 cases were attended to each day. On Thursdays two gynaecologists and a general physician, all qualified as Family Planning consultants and obstetricians, were available and on Saturdays a child specialist, a general physician and a gynaecologist-cum-Family Planning consultant-cum-obstetrician attended. The findings, advice and indicated follow-up were entered in the case cards.

 

Suitable Premises
After three years of working at the Sion Family Planning Clinic, suitable premises were located at Andheri, in Dr. Nandiís bungalow, known to Dr. (Mrs.) Usha Krishna. L&Tís Family Planning programme covered 1,256 of the eligible employees. As on 31st December, 1972, the Company had 215 employees with three or more children who were not practising Family Planning. Of these 105 employees were, however, following some system of Family Planning though they were not utilising the services of the Companyís Health Centre. 11 of them were using oral pills, 46 condoms and 48 rhythm/abstinence. 110 employees were personally contacted, but they were not interested in Family Planning and refused counselling also, their argument being that they would manage to limit their family size by their own devices. 

Therein lay the challenge. Condoms, loops and vaginal jelly were made available by the Bombay Municipal Corporation free of cost. Oral contraceptive pills were obtained at a special price and were distributed as per the advice of L&Tís Family Planning consultant/gynaecologist at a highly subsidised rate. The employees earning less than Rs. 500/- per month were charged 50 paise per pack and those earning Rs. 500/- or more, Re. 1/-. The market rate was Rs. 5/-. Loop insertions were done free of cost. Pills and condoms were issued at the factory premises or at L&T House depending upon where the employee was working.

The total number of married employees at L&Tís Powai Works in 1973 was 2,084. Out of these only 1,598 employees were eligible for Family Planning. The other 486 were either already sterilized before the first survey was carried out or had crossed the age limit.

During its surveys, L&T focussed on different health-related issues such as child health, etc., ultimately giving importance to Family Planning. Dr. Krishna, along with her team of volunteers, visited other corporate houses, including the Godrej Group of Companies, to get a first-hand account of how Family Planning programmes are effectively implemented. She personally met the late Mrs. Soonuben Godrej, the late Mr. Sohrab Godrej, Dr. & Mrs. G.D. Bhatia, and others, and saw for herself how successful Godrej was in educating its employees in Family Planning and family welfare as also the employees?children through the Udyachal Schools. Family Planning gradually started becoming only one of the components of total health care in L&T. Subsequently, a total health care centre was developed by the Company catering to maternal child care, chest infections, skin problems, cancer ...

 

 

Continuous Motivation
The process of motivation in L&T has been a continuous one and is done through contacts with the spouse at the Health Centre. To popularise Family Planning, monetary and non-monetary incentives are offered. In the early seventies, L&T employees undergoing vasectomy operations were given 4 days special leave along with Rs. 100/-. For tubectomies, the corresponding amount was Rs. 150/-. These benefits were in addition to those provided by Government and the financial benefit was available even if the spouse underwent sterilization. Today, 3 days special leave is given along with Rs. 500/- for both vasectomy and tubectomy operations to employees. However, these benefits are no longer extended to spouses of employees. Printed leaflets on Family Planning in regional languages are distributed from key places.

Personalities like Mr. Vijay Merchant, who has not only been a successful cricketer, but also Managing Director of Hindoostan Spinning & Weaving Mills Ltd., Dr. D.N. Pai, Prof. of Preventive Medicine at KEM Hospital, and Mr. N.M. Desai, Managing Director, L&T, were invited to these discussions. Their frankness received an overwhelming response from workers and more than 3,000 vasectomy operations took place, some of which were performed by Dr. Fardoon Soonawalla, Specialist and Urology Surgeon, who came with his team at the Health Centre. Various exhibitions on different aspects of health care are organised, such as the baal mela, where childrenís books, games, fancy dress competitons, health care, dental care, ophthalmic care ... and, finally, the importance of a small family are exhibited.


The Andheri Health Centre was surrounded by slums, where Family Planning was extremely necessary. So in 1980 the Health Centre was opened to the entire community, rendering health services, including Family Planning, mother and child health care (immunization included), skin and leprosy, tuberculosis clinic and sonography. These services are provided free of cost through integrated outpatient, operating and counselling services. Only sonography services are on chargeable basis at highly subsidised rates.

The Larsen & Toubro Health Centre, after utilising the premises of Dr. Nandi for 25 years, shifted its operations in 1999 to Landmark Building in Andheri itself. A well-ventilated 6,000 sq. ft. built-up area spread over two floors, has 7 air-conditioned consulting rooms, a clinical laboratory with semi-autoanalyzer, a fully equipped air-conditioned operation theatre, spacious post-operative ward, fully air-conditioned training hall, lift facility for patients, computerised data management and EPABX telephone exchange, apart from a sonography machine, audio-visual for health education and safety equipment. Ten gynaecologists and a surgeon visit the Centre for carrying out various Family Planning procedures. 

A pre-operative check up is done for all the patients who wish to undergo abortion and/or sterilization. Laparoscopic sterilizations are carried out in the morning and patients are sent home on the same day. Also, vasectomies and MTPs are carried out. Oral contraceptive pills and condoms are distributed freely. Copper-T insertions are also carried out at the Centre. Apart from these, the Centre also boasts of an Infertility Clinic and in-depth investigations in cases. The Centre has carried out 36,000 sterilization operations, out of which 3,800 are vasectomies. Abortions are always followed up with counselling in Family Planning, which plays a crucial role in L&Tís activities.

 

Mother-Child Care
Mother and child health care is another important activity of the Centre. It includes free consultations for mothers and children with competent paediatricians and gynaecologists. The Centre also carries out immunization of children against the six major childhood hazards, namely T.B., poliomyelitis, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and measles. Doses of Vitamin ĎA?and B.C.G. injections are also given.

A Well-Women Clinic, introduced by L&T Health Centre in October 1993, provides consultation for problems that can occur in adolescence, menopause and other problems related to women.

The L&T Health Centre has also installed a Clarity Ultrasound Scanner, a sonography machine, which is manufactured at the Companyís Mysore Works. Sonographies of the abdomen, pelvic and endovaginal parts, along with 2-D echocardiography investigations, are performed.

A qualified Social Counsellor helps clients in making an informed choice of a temporary or permanent Family Planning method. The individual/family is also provided counselling in related areas like MTP, infertility as well as other health and psycho/socio/economic problems. Patients are also referred to other institutions for help as per their requirement.

 

Outreach Programmes
Outreach programmes are being conducted from July 1992 in association with various NGOs. L&T health professionals comprising a team of doctors and a social counsellor from the Centre visit neighbouring industries to give talks on family welfare and provide information on services available at the Centre, Family Planning methods and relevant health issues.

Reputed institutions like the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and SNDT University regularly depute their social work students for field work and training. Social work students from other institutions (for example, the Kerala School of Social Work, nursing students from Holy Spirit Hospital ...) visit the Centre for orientation in community health work.


Quality Control Measures
Needless to say, with all these facilities provided, the Centre has won several awards from the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the Government of Maharashtra for its performance in Family Planning. Moreover, to maintain the quality of such high standards of community service is a real challenge. The L&T Health Centre has adopted the following quality control measures:
*Regular microbiological testing of operation theatre.
*Annual service contracts for all major equipment.

L & T Health Centre, Andheri, Mumbai Awards received for family planning

1975 Award for outstanding contribution in the field of Family Planning by Directorate of F.P., Govt. of Maharashtra.
1981 S. M. Dahanukar Rotating Trophy for Best Welfare Services like Canteen, Creche, Family Planning in Engineering industry for 1980.
1982-83 Certificate of Appreciation for Excellent performance in the field of Family Planning by Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay.
1983-84 Certificate of Appreciation and Gold Medal of outstanding work in F.P. and Welfare Programme awarded by Govt. of Maharashtra.
1983-84 Certificate of Appreciation for good performance in Family Planning by Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay.
1984-85 Family Planning Award and silver medal for outstanding work in Family Planning by Government of Maharashtra.
1984-85 Certificate of Appreciation for excellent work in Family Planning by Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay.
1985-86 Certificate of Appreciation for excellent work in Family Planning by Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay.
1986-87 Certificate of Appreciation for excellent work in Family Planning by Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay.
1987-88 Certificate of Appreciation and cash prize for excellent performance in Family welfare programme by Govt. of Maharashtra.
1988-89 Certificate of Appreciation and cash prize for excellent performance in Family welfare programme by Govt. of Maharashtra.
1989-90 Certificate of Appreciation and cash prize for excellent performance in Family welfare programme by Govt. of Maharashtra

No awards have been declared by the Government after 1990


Cross-checking of laboratory samples.
>>Refrigerator exclusively used for storing vaccines with optimum temperature control.
>>Refrigerator exclusively used for storing laboratory reagents.
>>Regular servicing and inspection of lift.
>>Periodic safety audit.
>>Regular testing of drinking water.
>>Regular pest control.
>>Disinfection of medical waste before disposal.
>>System for retrieval and storage of medical records.
>>Regular staff meetings for enhancing team spirit.

All this would not have been possible without the encouragement of Mr. Henning Holck-Larsen, one of the founders of L&T, who visited the Health Centre regularly. ďHe was full of humour and anecdotes. He would always enter with a smile, shake hands and talk to the medical staff, nurses and even the wardboys,?recalls Dr. Usha Krishna. Besides, every consultant would take personal interest in the patients. According to Dr. Krishna, ďour pillar of strength is our staff. We believe greatly in health education. We have well-educated volunteers, who are wives of top executives in L&T, who take great interest in running the Health Centre.?No wonder, a programme which was started with a small budget of Rs. 6,000/- per annum is today given a substantial amount to spend for the Health Centre.

Battle Against AIDS
There is also a Welfare Dept. of L&T, located at Powai Works, which is working towards the employees?wellbeing. Here, welfare activities are designed to help each employee realise his/her potential to the fullest in all spheres of life. L&T counsellors, who are qualified professionals, help employees tackle various problems ranging from alcoholism, marital conflicts, problems with children, personality disorders and bereavement in the family. Workshops are also held to guide and help employees facing such psychiatric problems. Therapeutic workshops are held regularly for addicts and their families.

Emphasis is also laid on educating the employee and the spouse on various aspects like parenting, relationships, coping with stress, medical emergencies, etc. There are also programmes for children on vocational guidance, computer familiarisation and rewards for good academic performances. L&T also assists bereaved spouses by way of counselling sessions, which not only help them cope with their loss and obtain their dues from the Company, but also gives them legal and investment guidance and education schemes for their children.

Various programmes are conducted for employees and their families to heighten social awareness. The Welfare Dept. started the AIDS awareness campaign in 1997 through seminars, lectures and exhibitions. In 1999 it won an international award instituted by the Global Business Council on HIV/AIDS, for the Companyís battle against HIV/AIDS. L&T is perhaps the first corporate in the country to initiate a concerted battle against HIV/AIDS. The objectives, besides prevention, are to ensure a healthy workplace, maintain productivity and morale, and fulfill the Companyís social responsibility.

Another significant contribution was the outreach community development programme against gutka (tobacco) addiction, carried out in the vicinity of Powai Works.

In order to make women socially aware, L&Tís Welfare Dept. also conducts regular programmes for the wives of employees. Workshops on managing emotions, intimate relationships: how to make them work, health for women, stress management, effective parenting, safety and first-aid, dealing with medical emergencies at home, etc. are conducted.

Some of the important and unique medical facilities provided at Powai with a full-fledged state-of-the-art medical centre include handling emergencies like industrial accidents and acute illness, periodic medical check-up of factory workers, canteen personnel and drivers, detection, treatment and post-treatment of infectious diseases like TB, leprosy, diabetes, cancer and coronary heart diseases, awareness programmes on the importance of hygiene conducted by expert nutritionists for canteen personnel, training of 100 employees in first-aid by the staff of the medical centre every year, continuous training to L&Tís medical staff, including doctors, to keep them up to date with the latest advances in the field of health and medicine.

Community Welfare
L&T has also made significant strides in community welfare with its programme called VIKAS (Village Improvement Know-how and Skills) launched in 1982. Around L&Tís state-of-the-art cement plants are thriving townships inhabited by L&T employees and their families. Since these townships are at a distance from the city, the Company has set up health centres to give the employee access to good medical facilities.

VIKAS strives to bring about progressive changes in these villages. A multi-pronged developmental scheme, which begins with improving health and increasing awareness about health issues, has been effected. Services include Family Planning, laparoscopy and tubectomy operations, immunization, ante and post natal care and TB eradication. This programme, which is based on knowledge, gives priority to accelerate development through education. L&T has not only set up schools called Balwadis for village children, but also constantly monitors their academics and spurs them towards a better performance, with rewards.

Children are the future of any country, but they are the mothers who shape their destiny. L&T launched a path-breaking scheme in 1995 called the ďMahila Head Family Finance Scheme and Self-Employment.?Here, VIKAS encourages destitute women and widows, who are sole breadwinners of the family, to set up small-scale businesses of their own. Training in various aspects of business management like marketing, sale and purchase, and accounting is provided. Most of all, VIKAS helps in providing the crucial factor required to jump-start a business an interest-free loan. A library has also been set up to inculcate reading habits.


Another scheme started by L&T called the Mahila Vikas Varg was launched in 1997, with the objective of providing non-formal education to women in villages and helping them stage a successful march towards self-reliance. L&T also started encouraging women to become computer literate. 

Every company has a vision in mind and a goal in sight. The underlying target, undoubtedly, is SUCCESS, which may come from a breakthrough in technology or a brilliant turnover. But there is also SUCCESS of a different genre the kind that traverses the confines of a corporate world. It stems from an indescribable satisfaction when one sees a broad smile on a motherís face, content in the knowledge that her child is well cared for. The pride that a father has when he is confident that he can support his family and educate his children. This is the kind of intangible success that L&T has aspired for and achieved. L&Tís efforts have translated into empowerment of individuals and greater dignity of life.

L & T Health Centre 
Mission Statement
We shall be centre of excellence dedicated to achieve total patient satisfaction through professional service and quality health care.

We pledge our devotion and commitment to serve those who enter our centre with a helping hand and a warm heart.

We shall continue to learn and develop ourselves and impart health education to others.

We shall strive to be a benchmark in the field of health care.



Courtesy: Dr. (Mrs.) Usha Krishna & 
Dr. S.V. Datar

 

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