Interview: Sir Dr. Huz (Huzaifa Khorakiwala) – CEO and Trustee, Wockhardt Foundation, India

Sir Dr. Huz, CEO and trustee of the Wockhardt Foundation and executive director of Wockhardt, discusses the role the Foundation plays in low- and middle-income areas across India, and how integrating simple ideas and health solutions can strengthen health systems and contribute to the overall health, education and life of millions of Indians.

Can you introduce yourself to our international readers and outline the journey that brought you to become the Wockhardt Foundation?

“Wockhardt Foundation emulates its parent organization’s priority in addressing society’s unmet needs and national building blocks (education, hygiene and healthcare) that enhance quality of life.”

I studied commerce in Mumbai, and furthered my education by getting my MBA degree at Yale University. Meanwhile in the early 90s I worked in a hospital in Bangalore, as well as headed many business lines within Wockhardt in areas as diverse as Veterinary, Mother and Childcare, and International Formulations, to name but a few. The foundation came to life in 2008 after I spoke to my father and we agreed that it was time to do more. We then decided to transform our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department into the Wockhardt Foundation.

Wockhardt is already saving lives. Why does the company need a foundation and what are the KPIs you consider when choosing projects?

Wockhardt Limited is a true Indian MNC with a multiethnic workforce comprising 12,000 associates hailing from 21 nations around the globe. The company has three research centers and 12 manufacturing plants handling the manufacture and marketing of pharmaceutical and bio-pharmaceutical formulations, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and vaccines. Wockhardt Foundation emulates its parent organization’s priority in addressing society’s unmet needs and national building blocks (education, hygiene and healthcare) that enhance quality of life. Wockhardt Foundation is a coming together of human values, social awareness and social development.

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Initially the foundation was financed by the company; but now 80 percent of funds are raised externally, as opposed to other Foundations that are, on average, 95 percent funded by their mother companies. We do this through our partners, which include Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Gas Authority of India Limited, Indian Army, TATA Motors, TATA Power, Steel Authority of India Limited, National Highway Authority of India, Wockhardt Hospitals, and Wockhardt Limited, to name a few.

We have grown in the last four years at the compound growth rate of 67 percent. In terms of KPIs and how we choose projects; we see the needs of the community, then we conduct research as to whether we can implement the project and raise the funds. For the time being we are focusing on growing and widening the presence of our existing projects.

Our flagship project is The Mobile 1000 programme, that addresses a longstanding rural primary healthcare gap. We are operating 110 mobile vans across 15 states of India, and each van goes to 25 villages a week. Over the last few years, the widening footprint of this service has translated into the decline in the healthcare spending of thousands of rural Indians, lower downtime from physical illnesses as well as enhanced workplace productivity and increased incomes. It brings essential free primary healthcare to 25000 patients, and last year our mobile vans helped two million patients in the remote villages of India.

The Pronto Toilet initiative was launched with the aim of facilitating our Prime Minister’s, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan mission. Pronto Toilet aims to improve hygiene among the masses and curtail ailments caused on account of dearth of proper sanitation facilities in the country. So far, we have built 15,000 toilets.

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The foundation also focuses on educating the young generation of India. The E-learning programme is intended to make learning a fun-filled and interactive experience. We have provided 400 schools with E-learning software, and the results we have seen so far have been extremely encouraging.

We also have 10 other programmes focused on various areas, such as providing clean drinking water, organ donations, and recycling to name a few.

Another separate project we have is the World Peacekeeper Movement. It is a special project, a separate NGO from the Foundation. Founded on September 21, 2011; the Movement is based on seven peace values: gratitude, forgiveness, love, humility, giving, patience and truth. The aim of that movement is working towards world peace. We have two million peacekeepers on Facebook, and we are adding one thousand peacekeepers a day. Thanks to sharing those values between our peacekeepers, we believe world peace has a greater chance.

Your volunteers are called Warriors. Why the “Warrior” and what is the profile of a Wockhardt Warrior?

Warrior simply means they have the fighting spirit to help the poor people. Most of our warriors are young people, around 25-35 years of age. The conditions they work in – helping people in the remote villages of India – tend to be very hard, so we are very proud to have a strong force of 500 warriors.

Following the implementation of new corporate laws in April of 2014, India became the first country in the world to enshrine corporate giving into law, obliging businesses with annual revenues of more than 10 billion rupees (£105m) to spend 2 percent of their net profit on CSR. What is the impact of the implementation of this regulation?

We can see the growing importance and focus on CSR nowadays. Although prior to the implementation of that regulation, very few companies were involved, Wockhardt was one of them. Many companies do it for the right reasons, to help society and give back to the community. However, some companies just do it for publicity. As the healthcare industry, we should put the people and their needs first, and then the profits and investors. The results are not as important as the benefit of the people.

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