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News - May 24, 2008

Biocon Foundation – Irish Aid Sanitation Programme launched in Huskur Gram Panchayat

First Phase inaugurated by HE Mr. Kieran Dowling, Ambassador, Republic of Ireland

Bangalore, May 24, 2008.

Biocon Foundation in collaboration with the Embassy of Ireland has announced the launch of the Biocon Foundation – Irish Aid Sanitation Programme today. HE Mr. Kieran Dowling, Ambassador, Republic of Ireland inaugurated the first phase of the sanitation project. Phase I of the sanitation project will cover 800 toilets in Huskur Gram Panchayat, Anekal Taluk, Karnataka. 220 toilets have already been built, and the project is to be completed by August 2008.

Dismaying statistics reveal that almost 80% of India’s one billion plus population do not have access to basic sanitation. Lack of proper sanitation and poor hygiene practices are the leading causes of infectious diarrhoea. 17% of under-five deaths are attributable to diarrhoeal diseases, making it the largest killer of children after pneumonia. Diarrhoea is also a major contributor to malnutrition and stunting.

In 2007, Biocon Foundation and the Embassy of Ireland decided to tackle this human crisis together. As a first step, over 800 toilets are being built in Huskur Gram Panchayat, in Anekal, Karnataka. Of the total cost of Rs. 7300 per toilet, each family is paying Rs. 1000 and members of the family are helping with the labour. The rest of the cost is being borne by the Embassy of Ireland (Irish Aid) and Biocon Foundation. The Karnataka Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Agency of the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, Government of Karnataka, has provided invaluable technical and educational help for this project. In addition, under the Total Sanitation Campaign, the Government of Karnataka will reimburse to Rs. 1200 to each BPL family that builds a toilet.

Speaking at the inauguration, HE Mr. Kieran Dowling, Ambassador, Republic of Ireland said, “We are very proud to support this excellent initiative of the Biocon Foundation and the local community. Having access to proper toilet facilities can literally be the difference between life and death. Hygienic toilets can greatly reduce the incidence of serious illnesses such as diarrhoea, dysentery, malaria and many other scourges.It also impacts in many different and profound ways on the quality of life and dignity of members of the community, and most especially women and girls.”

Ms. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Managing Trustee, Biocon Foundation said, “The UN has declared 2008 the ‘International Year of Sanitation’ in an effort to focus attention on the global health and economic crisis caused by inadequate sanitation. In addition to improving health and saving lives, adequate sanitation fosters social inclusion and self respect – especially for women. This initiative of Biocon Foundation in collaboration with the Embassy of Ireland reiterates our commitment to improving the quality of life of communities in the region.”

Added Ms. Rani Desai, Head – Biocon Foundation, “To make the sanitation programme more effective Biocon Foundation is also conducting a preventive health education programme that emphasizes the importance of using toilets and personal hygiene”.

At Biocon, we believe our investment in better healthcare must go beyond developing new medicine to making medical assistance accessible to less advantaged, rural communities of India. Executing our corporate-social responsibility through the Biocon Foundation, we have adopted an integrated outreach strategy that focuses on social change and empowerment of rural communities through public health, sanitation and education programs.

About Biocon Foundation
Biocon Foundation has been established in 2004 with the aim of identifying and implementing projects that will impact the social and economic scenario in the country. The main focus areas of the Biocon Foundation are providing quality healthcare and health education for the betterment of Indian society. Arogya Raksha Yojana is the fist step taken by the Biocon Foundation in this direction. Through this initiative, Biocon Foundation aims to provide high quality drugs at affordable prices to the masses at all BioCare Pharmacies and participating clinics.

For further information contact:
Paula Sengupta/Gayatri Appaya
Biocon Limited
Tel: +91 80 2852 3434
Fax: +91 80 2852 3423
Email: paula.sengupta@biocon.com