Thursday, January 10, 2008

Novartis India recognised for contributing in rehabilitating leprosy patients

Novartis India received the Reader's Digest Pegasus CSR Gold Award in the category 'Contribution to Individual Welfare' on December 12. The award was presented by Honourable Minister for Women and Child Welfare, Renuka Chowdhury, as recognition for the work Novartis has done in India in rehabilitating leprosy patients. The Pegasus CSR Awards have been instituted to recognise outstanding work done by socially conscious companies. The awards identify best practices and innovations of Indian corporates in fulfilling their responsibilities to diverse stakeholders, hoping to sensitise corporates to their role as good citizens of a fast developing nation in the process. Novartis and the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development (NFSD) have long been involved in the fight against leprosy.

Since 2000, Novartis has worked with the World Health Organisation to provide free multi-drug therapy treatment for all leprosy patients in the world through the end of 2010. This has led to the cure of 4.5 million patients so far. The Novartis Comprehensive Leprosy Care Association (NCLCA), a project sponsored by NFSD and Novartis helps recovering leprosy patients with both physical and social rehabilitation including income generation assistance. NCLCA has pioneered a system of prevention, correction, care and rehabilitation through an integrated system. Ranjit Shahani, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Novartis, said, "We are both humbled and honoured to be recognised for our contribution to rehabilitating patients suffering from leprosy, a disease that has been around since biblical times. Receiving recognition from the well regarded Reader's Digest makes it special. There is still a stigma attached to leprosy in India. We hope that through awareness and early treatment, we will be able to eventually not only bring down the number of leprosy patients in India but also bring them back into the mainstream of society."

Klaus M Leisinger, President, NFSD, said, "We will do whatever we can for patients who have suffered from the disease and its consequences because it is the right thing to do. But this is only one aspect in the fight against leprosy. Thanks to concerted actions, the disease has today a very limited spread. Yet, we must not lose momentum but use this window of opportunity to go for the final push—that means to create a coalition of committed partners including governments and NGOs to do what is needed to consign the disease to history."

Novartis endeavours to undertake those activities in the corporate social responsibility sphere where the company has the ability to make a difference. At a global level, access-to-medicines programmes in 2006 reached over 33 million patients worldwide, with contributions totalling US $755 million. In India, the Novartis Group undertakes initiatives in the areas of tuberculosis, leprosy and oncology as also education and vocational training of and for the underprivileged.

Source: http://www.expresspharmaonline.com/20080115/market03.shtml

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