Max India Foundation... making difference... to lifeFeatured

Written by PUNITA JASROTIA PHUKAN
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Max India Foundation’s work in health awareness, immunisation, providing healthcare and high end surgeries to the underprivileged, and working towards a healthy and cleaner environment has impacted the lives of thousands

From those to whom much is given, much is expected” says Mary Maxell Gates, American businesswoman and famously known as the mother of Bill gates. However, what you do of this gift makes the real difference. And that’s what Max India Foundation (MIF), the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of Max India Limited (MIL) has been able to achieve.

For the past couple of years, MIF has been working relentlessly in the areas of health awareness, pan India immunisation of children, providing healthcare and high-end surgeries to the underprivileged, and also working towards providing a healthy and cleaner environment.

In spite of having a small in-house team, in short time of eight years, MIF has been able to touch close to 24, 95,481 lives through 404 NGO partners covering 682 locations across India. All this has been possible due to its emphasis on quality, excellence and credibility. “Projects are taken only when we have all the things and teams in place. In the interest of numbers, we don’t compromise on quality,” says Mohini Daljeet Singh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MIF.

According to her, the advantage lies in MIL’s model of employee engagement model with a back-up of world-class health care facilities. Max India Group companies actively involved in this process include Max New York Life, Max Healthcare and Max Specialty Products.

MIF’s key initiatives include: healthcare for underprivileged children; betterment of orphaned and abandoned children, support for cancer patients from disadvantaged backgrounds; free artificial limbs and polio calipers for the disabled; adoption of village schools and provision of education, and healthcare and health awareness in the Max Specialty Products unit area. It also organises different health workshops and awareness camps on varied issues such as oral and health hygiene, to cancer prevention, cardiovascular diseases, to women’s health issues.

These initiatives have not only helped MIL earn appreciation for its social service, it has also helped it bag the Golden Peacock award (GPA) four times. (Instituted in 2002, GPA helps reward exemplary enterprises for their pioneering efforts. The recognition also helps create models of inspiration for others to follow.) According to Singh, it is MIF’s approachability, openness, quick decision-making and compassion that has helped it reach this level.

Big difference, step by step

MIF was started in 2008, keeping in mind Max Group’s core value of “sevabhav” (service) in healthcare and health awareness, with a special focus on children in the underprivileged section of the society.

The first year was dedicated to spreading awareness about oral health and hygiene (in the nearby NCR region), tie-ups with credible NGOs and a data summary for immunisation. It also started making films on different health issues, which later helped it spread awareness among public.

In its pan-India immunisation program, MIF and Max Life Insurance Co Ltd, in partnership with local NGOs, reach out to underprivileged in remotest areas for providing vaccinations to children between zero-12 years of age for deadly diseases such as Hepatitis B, DPT, MMR, and measles.

At these immunisation camps, each child is checked by a pediatrician and the health status recorded in MIF health cards. Children below five years are also covered under the Vitamin A programme, the deficiency of which could lead to blindness.

The organisation is also committed to preventive health. Firmly believing that early prevention can help stop or detect many diseases, MIF runs health awareness programs through talks, films, counseling sessions, and specific events. The company regularly organises street plays, puppet shows, and road shows to educate and engage underprivileged on things such as hygiene (small but important things like the right way to brush teeth, washing hands or keeping the surroundings clean) or making them aware of not overlooking symptoms that can help detect diseases at an early age.

In addition, every month, MIF comes out with newsletters for its employees, touching on any particular issue such as illeffects of tobacco, women health, environment issue, pollution and so on.

Life-changing assistance

MIF also extends help to people in lifechanging procedures, which they would not have been able to afford otherwise. Pediatric cardiology, cancer treatment, reconstructive treatments are some of the major areas of treatment. Multi-specialty camps in remote areas of Ladakh, tribal and rural areas of MP, and Bodh Gaya have helped spread the foundation’s work across the country. Since its inception, MIL has supported large number of pediatric cardiac surgeries, brain tumor surgeries, reconstructive surgeries, neuro surgeries, orthopedic surgeries, cataract surgeries, oncology care and renal transplant. However, Singh points out that whenever possible, they ask the NGO partners to sponsor or encourage patients to contribute a little.

Cancer patients and their families need support and reassurance to cope with the long-drawn out treatment and its sideeffects. MIF has partnered with CanSupport to offer palliative care to advanced cancer patients from disadvantaged backgrounds. CanSupport offers free services such as home care, day care, counseling and therapy through centres across Delhi and NCR, by a team of dedicated nurses, doctors and volunteers.

MIF also sponsors artificial limbs and organises polio calipers camps, where artificial limbs are provided to underprivileged patients from across the country.

A better world

MIF is committed to spread awareness about environment-friendly initiatives and encourages sustainable practices for conservation of energy, waste management, and reduction in the use of paper, electricity and water across all its Group entities.

Under its village adoption programme, MIF has adopted two villages in Uttarakhand — Dhakrani and Chandrothi Gram Sabha for intervention on issues of health, hygiene and sanitation. The purpose is to create Dhakrani village in Dehradun as a model village, with the objective of significantly improving the villager’s quality of life by focusing on their health and sanitation needs with a broader focus on protecting the environment.

Due to Max Group’s special association with Uttarakhand, Dhakrani has been chosen as the first village to be covered under this five-year programme. Dhakrani is one of the largest villages (a cluster of villages) in the state with close to 15,000 people. The Foundation has also been organising multi-specialty health camps and stressing the need for “Swachh Raho Swasth Raho” on a regular basis in the village.

A solid waste management programme covering the entire village has been put into place, and the organisation is putting a network of sewage lines, taking care of waste segregation (with each house provided two dustbins and a waste collection fees of Rs 20) wherein they have provided tractor trolleys to collect waste from each house to take it to the treatment plant. The wet waste is used for compost and the plastic bags will be given to the PWD for road laying. After seeing the success in Dhakrani, MIL is doing similar kind of work in Mussorie too, where they have adopted a cluster of four villages.

In case of Chandrothi Gram Sabha, Dehradun, the foundation is working towards community welfare, improving education and providing solar street lights on dark stretches of hilly roads. Speaking on future projects, Singh is of the opinion that it’s better wanted to consolidate on the current projects before jumping on new project.

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