News - Aug 07, 2014

Biocon Foundation gets 'Asia Best CSR Practices Award 2014' for 'Cervical Cancer Screening Programme'

Bangalore, August 07, 2014

Biocon Ltd, Asia's premier biotechnology company, announced that Biocon Foundation has won the ‘Asia Best CSR Practices Award 2014’ hosted by CMO Asia at Singapore, as a part of World CSR Congress, in the ‘Best Community Initiative’ category for its ‘Community Cervical Cancer Screening Programme’.

S Raman, vice president & head of Biocon Malaysia operations, received the award on behalf of Biocon Foundation at the 4th Asia Best CSR Practices Awards held in Singapore on August 1, 2014.

The Asia Best CSR Practices Awards recognize corporates in Asia that have had a significant and positive impact on people, communities and the environment.

Hennagara is a village in Anekal taluk, where the practice of open defecation still prevails. Research says that in Hennagara Gram Panchayat, which has a population of 30,000 in eight villages, around 70 per cent of the villagers have household toilets, while the rest resort to open defecation. Biocon Foundation, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) effort of Biocon, is working towards ensuring that a healthier and better future is in store for Hennagara and many other villages, which lack basic amenities.

Commenting on the award, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon, said, "This is a significant award as it endorses the very challenging work that we are doing through our Community Cervical Cancer Screening Program."

“Early detection of cervical cancer through Biocon Foundation's screening programme has led to early treatment at lower cost and greatly enhanced treatment outcomes in the rural communities we serve,” she added.

India has the highest number of deaths from cervical cancer than any other country. Cervical cancer kills over 72,000 women in India every year, more than 26 per cent of the 275,000 deaths worldwide.

The Biocon Foundation’s cervical cancer prevention and control programme is centered around three key service delivery components – community information and education, accessible screening services & diagnostics and treatment services.

Community representation

Biocon Foundation trains healthcare workers to provide reproductive health education to women in underserved communities. The Foundation has also collaborated with tertiary cancer centres to link diagnostic, screening and treatment services. This programme is rolled out by the Arogya Raksha Yojana (ARY) clinics in Karnataka, operated by the Foundation.

The Foundation’s health workers identify women who seem to be at risk and preregister them for a screening camp. The women undergo comprehensive screening by specialists from the tertiary cancer centres who visit the ARY clinics once a month. The screening process is highly systematic, including a counseling session.

Apart from sanitation, the Foundation also focuses on healthcare. The villagers avail all the major health facilities, at a subsidised rate at the ARY clinic. In a bid to make the process seamless, the Foundation has also established ELAJ, an online medical platform in all ARY clinics. Consequently, there’s no paperwork involved and everything about the patient gets recorded and stored in an electronic database. The Foundation has also stepped into the fields of education and civic infrastructure in different regions of the State. Talking about future plans, Rani says, "We are trying to make our preventive healthcare initiatives stronger and optimise our processes. We are strengthening our presence in this field by conducting regular camps on cervical cancer, oral cancer, diabetes and hypertension."

To maintain quality and provide focused attention, the center limits the number of screenings to around 20 patients a day, the doctor spends nearly 45 minutes per patient to give quality time and attention to the patient. So far, hundreds of women have been screened, leading to the detection of several cancer cases.

A doctor conducts a systematic pelvic examination and PAP smear. While other issues are treated at the clinic, PAP slides are sent to the Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre (MSCC) or St. John’s Hospital in Bengaluru. If abnormalities (precancerous lesions) are found, patients are counselled to go in for follow-up diagnosis and treatment. Patients are also advised to repeat the PAP smear test every two years.