Sharing Costs

Updated: Jan 26 2003, 05:30am hrs
For a Rs 110-crore company, sponsoring the anti-retrovial (ARV) drugs for only five AIDS patients is too humble a community initiative to be publicised. Modicare isnt keen to do that either. Samir Modi, the managing director of Modicare and a trustee of the Modicare Foundation, which has launched this initiative, is rather going all out to involve other corporates as well in shouldering the burden of those who are already affected by this deadly disease and creating awareness about HIV/AIDS among their own employees and surrounding communities.

And thanks to their efforts, Modicare has so far been able to get Jindal Steel and Godfrey Phillips involved in its endeavour to sponsor the ARVs for AIDS patients. ARVs are life-long requirement of an AIDS patient. And the medication costs between Rs 5,000-6,000 per patient per month. This means the medication cost per patient per annum comes to Rs 60,000-Rs 80,000 plus. And it is the patients life-long commitment for us, says Mr Modi has decided to sponsor the lifelong medication for five more AIDS patients this year. We will select the AIDS patients on the basis of their financial conditions, Mr Modi explains.

Besides, Modicare Foundation is also running preventive and consultancy centres in two public hospitals in New Delhi and two in Mumbai. We are also finalising a finance deal with a foreign financial institution for setting up a mother-to-child-transmission-prevention (PMTCT) clinic in Mumbai, adds Mr Modi.

Modicare Foundation, with an annual budget of Rs 2.50 crore, is solely focussed on creating awareness and eradicating the myth about HIV/AIDS among the people across different social communitiesstudents, industrial workers, sex workers, truck drivers, and so on.

And for its own employees, Modicare has already put in place a written HR (human resource) policy on HIV/AIDS that states an employee with HIV/AIDS will not be discriminated in relation to employment, training, promotion, employee benefits; employees with HIV will be protected against any kind of stigmatisation by co-workers, and there will be no termination in the face of HIV infection, among others.

In fact, Modicare is one of the four companies in India which recognise that HIV/AIDS is a workplace issue and have a written HR policy on HIV/AIDS in place.

Modicares is a humble initiative. But if all other corporates start walking following Modicare, it will make a big difference to the AIDS patients in the country.