St Stephen’s hospitals’ seeds were sown by Ms Priscilla Winter in 1885, aged 16 when she arrived in India from England to takeover the work of her educationalist brother who died in the mutiny. While teaching women and children she got exposed to the plight of women having poor access to healthcare. And during an outbreak of cholera, she started providing basic preventive treatment to women and children. Her pioneering work as a community health worker began when she stood by the river Yamuna armed with a box of medicines to serve the poor. Slowly a small dispensary was founded in the city through the ‘White Ladies Association’ .
When Ms. Winters passed away in 1881, a 50 bed hospital was started on a land bought in Chandni Chowk in her remembrance. This hospital was scaled up and reinvested in several locations in Old Delhi before the foundation stone for the current site was laid in 1906 at Tiz Hazari. The growth to a tertiary hospital with urban primary health centers from a single person’s efforts is indeed an inspiring story.