Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Upasna Konidela: Embracing wellness

With Apollo Life she is aiming to address the overall well-being of people by addressing issues that cause chronic lifestyle diseases

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Sep 21, 2018 10:40:18 AM IST
Updated: Sep 21, 2018 05:06:41 PM IST

Upasna Konidela: Embracing wellness
Upasna Konidela, managing director, Apollo Life

A humane society must provide access to basic health amenities to its citizens, and universal health care is a critical indicator of equity, security and dignity,” says Upasna Konidela, 31, managing director of Apollo Life, a wellness solutions provider, promoted by Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited.

The main objective of Apollo Life is to address mental, emotional, dietary and fitness-related physical environmental issues that account for most chronic and lifestyle diseases. “Undoubtedly, prevention is better than cure, especially when most lifestyle diseases are preventable,” says Konidela, who is the granddaughter of Prathap C Reddy, founder of the Apollo group of hospitals.

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Catastrophic medical expenses are a major reason for indebtedness among many in India, she says. “For decades, most people paid out-of-pocket.” This makes the government’s Ayushman Bharat initiative “a giant leap towards achieving universal health care”.

“Upasna is one of the youngest women entrepreneurs working for wellness. Her efforts into awareness building for cervical cancer through several philanthropic initiatives are particularly exemplary, with a nation-wide screening camp initiative underway. She has ably led from the front with her personal experience as well,” says Rohit MA, co-founder and managing director of Cloudnine Group of Hospitals.

For Konidela, wellness and fitness hold a personal connection. In her teens she had struggled with her weight—something she previously termed as ‘chubbesity’. Even her marriage to actor Ram Charan (son of actor Chiranjeevi) became an occasion for people to make derisive comments about her weight on social media. “I was 15 kg more than what I weigh today,” she told Forbes India during a previous interaction. “But there were people saying, ‘How can Ram Charan marry a fat girl?’”

However, through all her personal travails, Konidela has always been one to act on areas that she felt passionately about. These have ranged from starting an animal rescue farm, to MindLine, a counselling helpline for mental health, under the auspices of the Apollo Group.

Konidela has her own philosophy on wellness: Beyond just being free from disease or illness, wellness is about making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. As a pivotal aspiration to thrive, rather than just survive, it must be a systematic process of transformation and growth over one’s entire lifetime.

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“Wellness is a way of life that you embrace and it should certainly not just be a goal to be accomplished. Its spectrum encompasses the overall balance of one’s mental, physical and spiritual well-being and that underscores its criticality,” she says.

From a national perspective, wellness and well-being hold the key to healthier, happier and sustainable communities of the future and the accountability to achieve them lie with the individual and the government, she says.