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Advancing CSR in India: An Interview with Dr. Saurabh Jain, VP – Global Delivery Centers & Program Lead, CSR, Indegene

18 Mar 2023

Indegene is working to create an ecosystem that shall enable better healthcare quality and outcomes for society.

As corporate social responsibility (CSR) becomes increasingly important for businesses across the world, there are individuals who have dedicated their careers to advancing this cause. Dr. Saurabh Jain is one such person, who serves as the Vice President of Global Delivery Centers and Program Lead for CSR at Indegene, a leading healthcare solutions provider based in India.

With over two decades of experience in the healthcare and life sciences industries, Dr. Jain is a seasoned expert in the field of CSR. He has led various programs and initiatives that aim to make a positive impact on society, including improving healthcare access and education, promoting sustainable practices, and supporting local communities.

In this interview, we will delve into Dr. Jain’s insights on the current state of CSR in India, the challenges and opportunities in the field, and his vision for the future of CSR. We will also explore his personal journey and the experiences that have shaped his career as a CSR leader.

Could you tell us about your company’s focus while driving CSR activities?

At Indegene, we believe that CSR is an integral part of our broader business strategy and corporate mission, and we strive to create shared value for all stakeholders by integrating CSR into our core operations.

Healthcare and Education are the two main pillars of our CSR activities. We make healthcare more accessible and improve education.

Healthcare: Our contribution to healthcare is our way of giving back to an industry that we owe our founding purpose to. Indegene is working to create an ecosystem that shall enable better healthcare quality and outcomes for society.

Education: We view industry-academia relationships as critical to healthcare research and nurturing future leaders, and actively seek collaboration opportunities with educational institutions.

Overall, our focus on healthcare technology and innovation sets us apart in the CSR space, and we are committed to using our unique strengths and resources to drive positive impact and create value for both our stakeholders and the wider community.

Can you tell us about the CSR programmes that Indegene runs?

We have an active CSR program, spanning multiple initiatives broadly in healthcare delivery and medical education. In the past few years, we have leveraged our core expertise and resources in healthcare technology and innovation to collaborate with many institutions that share our CSR philosophy. Let me share details of a few initiatives:

Enfold Proactive Health Trust, is a Bengaluru-based NGO, committed to preventing child sexual abuse, creating safe spaces for children, and assisting children who have faced sexual violence through their journeys within the criminal justice system. We helped build a new platform, where each team member is assigned a role that determines access. Information collection has been simplified with effective UI and all mandatory information is ensured in the system. There is an option provided to raise alerts along with an additional report-generation feature to aid conversations and discussions. Data privacy has been built into the design.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indegene partnered with the National College in Bangalore to provide laptops to students in need. The initiative, called “Laptops for Learners,” is aimed to support students who were facing challenges in attending virtual classes due to a lack of access to technology. Indegene donated laptops to the college and those were then distributed to deserving students based on their financial needs and academic performance. We continue to donate laptops to educational institutions like the National College, Jayanagar, and healthcare institutions like Sri Krishna Sevashrama Hospital, helping them access modern technology and infrastructure and accelerate their technology modernization journey.

The Indegene MS Scholar programme with IIT Madras and Plaksha University supports research scholars every year for their research in healthcare. The programme was launched in 2021. Any deserving student is eligible to apply if their financial situation prohibits them from pursuing their research. One scholarship is offered every year, and the research scholar is selected based on merit. The Indegene leadership team spends time with the scholar to discuss the project.

Project Aarogya was conceptualized to meet the unmet needs of government school children and executed as a tripartite agreement with NGO partners, Let’s Endorse and Reaching Hand. The camp included a screening program including growth and nutrition levels, head-to-toe examination, vision and hearing testing, and oral and dental screening.

What is the CSR vision of Indegene?

At Indegene, our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) vision is rooted in our commitment to improving the quality of healthcare and improving education. We believe that by leveraging our core expertise and resources in healthcare technology and innovation, we can drive positive impact and create sustainable, long-term solutions to some of the most pressing healthcare issues faced by our society. Ultimately, we want to enable the development of a more equitable and accessible healthcare ecosystem that benefits all members of society, and we are committed to working towards this goal every day.

What has been the highlight of the CSR programmes in the recent past?

We have joined hands with Foundation for Excellence (FFE) for a unique merit-cum-means Scholarship program. With this partnership, we will support 25 bright and financially deserving Medical Scholars who are eager to enable future-ready healthcare.

We also partnered with Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), a not-for-profit organization devoted to enabling the best coaching, training, equipment, and sport science facilities, including the right fitness program for Indian athletes who are the best and most deserving medal prospects for the Olympic games.

In the last two years, we have provided laptops to more than 200 students from underprivileged backgrounds to digitally enable their learning.

Why has Indegene collaborated with Plaksha University?

Through this partnership, we aim to leverage Plaksha’s expertise and resources to accelerate our own commitment to digital health. Digital health will not only make healthcare more accessible but will also help in the quality of healthcare. Our collaboration with Plaksha reflects our commitment to supporting the growth and development of the broader technology and innovation ecosystem in India, especially in healthcare. Through the Faculty Chair for Digital Health at Plaksha University, we are contributing to advancements in the field of digital health by attracting exceptional educators and researchers.

How do you plan to bridge the gap between healthcare and CSR?

We believe that healthcare and CSR are intrinsically linked, and our approach is to bridge the gap between the two by aligning our CSR initiatives with our aspiration to help improve patient outcomes and enhance healthcare access and affordability.

At Indegene, our CSR programmes are designed to address key healthcare challenges and gaps in underserved communities, leveraging our expertise and resources in healthcare technology and innovation. We also partner with local communities, non-profits, and government organizations to create sustainable, long-term solutions that address the root causes of healthcare disparities.

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