29th Yudhvir Memorial Award
Dr. Evita Fernandez
For her selfless and compassionate contribution to maternal healthcare and empowerment of women by Hon'ble Vice President of India Shri M Venkaiah Naidu
Dr. Evita Fernandez describes herself as an “Obstetrician who supports midwifery and natural birth.” These simple words do not do justice to her depth of experience and the tremendous strides she has made in the welfare of women, the care for HIV pregnant mothers and nursing training. These simple words are also the hallmark of the humility and grace with which she has selflessly dedicated herself to initiatives that have empowered women for three decades.
Dr. Evita Fernandez is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, London, Managing Trustee of the Fernandez Hospital Educational & Research Foundation and Chairperson of Fernandez Foundation.
In 1983, she took over the reins of the 40-bed maternity clinic started by her parents in 1948 and through sheer determination and hard work transformed it into a state-of-the-art, 110-bed Fernandez Hospital in 1996.
To address the issue of a dearth of skilled nurses, Dr. Fernandez set up the Fernandez School of Nursing in 2005, which provides girls from all over the country nursing opportunities. This also included free scholarships to tribal girls, saving them from a life of exploitation.
Her relentless dedication to women’s causes led to the launch of PROMISE – Professional Midwifery Services – in 2011, a nation-wide campaign committed to creating a cadre of professional midwives, vital to the care and delivery of low-risk pregnant women. In the same year she also launched a two-year Professional Midwives Education and Training (PMET) Program and till date, these midwives have helped with 11,000 safe births.
The Telangana Government and Fernandez Hospital, facilitated by UNICEF, are working together closely to reduce the number of C-Sections, increase normal births and ensure dedicated care for safe birthing by women in public hospitals. Today, Fernandez Hospital is recognized as a national training institute for midwifery educators. This is the work most dear to her heart.
Dr. Fernandez has a deep concern for HIV pregnant women. Her hospital has been caring for these patients since 1994 using strict protocols and is one of the very few hospitals that does not turn away HIV positive pregnant women.
The Trustees of the Yudhvir Foundation feel inspired by a person of such rare merit and feel immense pride in conferring on Dr. Evita Fernandez the Twenty-Ninth Yudhvir Memorial Award for her selfless contribution to maternal healthcare and the empowerment of women. They wish her every success in her pathbreaking movement, and every personal happiness.