Godrej initiates dialogue on importance of 'Partnerships and Collaborations' for malaria elimination

03 August 2017

'Achieving a malaria-free India', a first-of-its-kind conclave, organized by the Godrej Group in partnership with the Vector Control Research Center (VCRC), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), was held today at Godrej ONE, Mumbai. Stakeholders representing thought leaders from government, academia, private sector and social & non-profit organizations, discussed the need and merits of partnerships and collaborations in achieving a malaria-free India.

The key highlight of the conclave was a panel discussion on 'Partnerships and Collaborations towards achieving malaria-free India'. Insightful discussions on India's current challenges, lessons from the past, the merits and challenges of partnerships, roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders and concrete next steps to make the vision a reality were discussed. It was a power-packed panel comprising Prof. Dr. Sabesan, Senior Consultant, VCRC; Dr. Anup Anvikar, National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR); Shireen Mistree, India Health Fund, Tata Trusts; Neeraj Jain, Country Director, India, PATH and Vivek Gambhir, Managing Director, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. Indrajit Gupta, Director and Co-founder, Founding Fuel moderated the panel.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group, said, "Malaria continues to be one of the most significant public health issues confronting India today, with about 1.5 million new cases detected every year. Our Health Ministry has endorsed the goal of achieving a malaria-free India by 2030. Given the scale of the vision outlined, the importance of partnerships and collaborations is paramount. In line with this, our conclave today, aims to create and facilitate impactful conversations on malaria elimination among key thought leaders from the ecosystem."

The Chief Guest of the conclave, Dr. Shampa Nag, Project Director, Caritas India, said, "Partnerships and collaborations present continuous opportunities within the ambit of multisectoral approach. They act as catalyzing factors for bridging the physical and behavioural barriers and enabling the motivators/influencers to expand application of interventions as well as strengthening community systems alongside extending support to improve overall health systems. Leveraging distinctive strengths of stakeholders, the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP), civil society organizations & corporate sector, donor & partner agencies, and others should reaffirm the commitment to advance our common elimination vision."

Speaking at the conclave, Mr. Vivek Gambhir, Managing Director, Godrej Consumer Products Limited, said, "With project EMBED (Elimination of Mosquito Borne Endemic Diseases), we have embarked on a journey of collaboration with various stakeholders, including the government, social sector, and the community. With gradual reductions in the malaria burden in our pilot districts, our project model is a testament to the productivity and importance of partnerships. As a FMCG player with a robust household insecticide portfolio, we have brought financial resources, knowledge on mosquito behaviours and prevention strategies, and a strong understanding of community members, to the fight against malaria. To further our outreach efforts, we have partnered with the VCRC for this conclave and will continue to work in collaboration with them to develop an action-oriented way forward from the discussions of the conclave today."

The conclave saw meaningful deliberations on malaria elimination, including: individual paper presentations by students of VCRC on different aspects of vector borne diseases; a presentation on Godrej Consumer Products' pilot project EMBED by Dr. Vikas Goswami, Head Sustainability, Good & Green, Godrej Industries Limited and Associate Companies and Dr. Bitra George, Country Head, India, FHI 360. Prof. Dr. S. Sabesan unveiled a research paper on 'Public Private Partnership (PPP) towards malaria elimination in India'.

The conclave was part of Godrej Group's awareness platform, launched with the vision to create and facilitate impactful conversations around key issues that are of national significance. The platform will continue to engage with diverse stakeholders groups including government, academia, NGOs, regulatory bodies, industry bodies, media and digital influencers on socially relevant subjects.

Malaria in India:

India has the highest malaria burden in the Asia Pacific region, with more than one billion people at risk of infection. Official estimates reveal 10 lakh cases of malaria reported in the country every year. India accounts for 70% of malaria cases and 69% of malaria deaths in the South East Asia region. Over 80% of India's population lives in 'malaria transmission high-risk' areas

The Government of India has made a commitment to eliminate malaria from the country by 2030, in line with the National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) and Global Technical Strategy for Malaria. Eliminating malaria in India will result in substantial public health improvement in the country, and would also lead to important improvements in the economic situation for families burdened by malaria.

About Godrej Group

Established in 1897, the Godrej Group has its roots in India's Independence and Swadeshi movement. Our founder, Ardeshir Godrej, lawyer-turned-serial entrepreneur failed with a few ventures, before he struck gold with a locks business.

Today, we enjoy the patronage of 1.1 billion consumers globally across consumer goods, real estate, appliances, agriculture and many other businesses. In fact, our geographical footprint extends beyond Earth, with our engines now powering many of India's space missions.

With revenue of over USD 4.1 billion we are growing fast, and have exciting, ambitious aspirations. Our Vision for 2020 is to be 10 times the size we were in 2010.

But for us, it is most important that besides our strong financial performance and innovative, much-loved products, we remain a good company. Approximately 23 per cent of the promoter holding in the Godrej Group is held in trusts that invest in the environment, health and education. We are also bringing together our passion and purpose to make a difference through our Good & Green strategy of 'shared value' to create a more inclusive and greener India.

At the heart of all of this, are our people. We take much pride in fostering an inspiring workplace, with an agile and high performance culture. We are also deeply committed to recognising and valuing diversity across our teams.

For media queries, please contact:
Adfactors PR
Anchal Vanarase | +91 8421885331 | anchal.vanarase@adfactorspr.com
Kavita Bhoite | +91 9664392042 | kavita.bhoite@adfactorspr.com


Appendix

Quotes from Speakers and Panelists:

Dr. Vikas Goswami, Head Sustainability, Good & Green, Godrej Industries Limited and Associate Companies

"Malaria is a major public health concern for the country today. While substantial progress has been made towards reducing the malaria burden globally, and in India as well, the problem still persists. Keeping in mind India's goal of being malaria-free by 2030, our initiative EMBED (Elimination of Mosquito Borne Endemic Diseases) will contribute towards the strong momentum in the malaria elimination effort by creating awareness about malaria and driving associated behavior change, especially among the high-risk population groups."

Dr. Bitra George, Country Head, India, FHI 360

"Godrej and Family Health India are working closely with Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Madhya Pradesh to realize the National Strategy for Malaria Elimination in India by 2030. Our project, EMBED, focuses on driving sustainable behavior change among community members to ensure that they are empowered with the right information to take charge of their own protection against malaria. We have worked on building long-lasting relationships with the local and state governments of MP, local NGOs, ASHA workers, the health system, and the local community, to employ a collaborative approach in our effort to eliminate malaria in MP."

Neeraj Jain, Country Director, India, PATH

"While India has seen a sharp drop in both incidence and mortality rates, Malaria is still a major public health challenge. Past successes have been achieved through measures to protect against mosquito bites and by quicker diagnosis followed by appropriate drug therapies. The Government has set a target of 2030 for malaria elimination in India but for this to be a reality, there is a desperate need for multiple stakeholders including government, development partners, academia and private sector, to come together and work in coordination"

Dr. Anup Anvikar, NIMR, ICMR:

"India has launched the National Framework for Malaria Elimination. There is a need for all the partners like National Programme, Industries, Research Organisations, NGOs, academia, community, media etc. work together to tackle the challenges. ICMR National Institute of Malaria Research, with its headquarters in Delhi and support of 10 field units across the country works closely with the national programme. It conducts basic, operational and applied research to find short and long term solutions for malaria control. It has played a vital role by providing evidence for revisions in drug and insecticide policy, assuring quality of diagnostics, evaluating new control tools and developing trained manpower."

Prof. Dr. Sabesan, Senior Consultant, VCRC

"VCRC continues to partner with the national programme by developing newer tools and innovative vector control strategies, providing technical expertise and assistance and studying epidemiology of vector borne diseases. PPP is an important approach to eliminate malaria from India. Overall, the private sector, along with other stakeholders, has significantly contributed to the momentum towards malaria-elimination in India, but we have a long road ahead of us. Several private organizations including Godrej, Sun Pharma and Caritas India, have also employed collaborative approaches in their respective programmes to work towards this common goal. Thus, a replication of such an approach across other endemic areas in the country, wherein partners work together till the end-game is won, will go a long way in bringing us closer to a safer, malaria-free India."

Shireen Mistree, India Health Fund, Tata Trusts

"The fastest route to wealthy nation/India is a healthy nation/India. Our only mode of transport: strong collaboration and robust partnerships geared towards quick and effective solutions. Tata Trusts in partnership with The Global Fund has designed The India Health Fund; a vehicle to not only facilitate strong inter-sectoral partnerships but also serve as a mechanism to generate effective solutions in addressing key public health challenges in India which include mitigation of Malaria."

Indrajit Gupta, Director and Co-founder, Founder Fuel

"The Godrej conclave on "Achieving a Malaria-Free India" was timely, relevant and tied in well with the government's mission to eradicate malaria by 2030. The perspectives from a diverse set of speakers at the panel discussion on collaborations and partnerships was valuable and insightful and an important conversation to initiate, given that we need to bring on board multiple stakeholders from business, government and the social sector if we have to win the war against malaria."