Premji Foundation to enter healthcare

More than two decades after setting up Azim Premji Foundation to improve teaching in government schools, the country’s most generous billionaire has turned his attention to healthcare for the poor.

The foundation will soon set up primary healthcare clinics in some of India’s most backward towns, which will be followed by multi-specialty hospitals and a medical university, two executives aware of the development said.

This decision to make healthcare its second focus area marks the biggest change in the history of the foundation, which was set up in 2001.

“We have done significant work on health during the pandemic, and this will be a key area of work for us going forward,” said Anurag Behar, chief executive officer, Azim Premji Foundation, in an email response. “Our focus will be on improving the health of underserved communities across geographies. Health is a public good and, therefore, strengthening public health systems will be central to our approach. In addition, where there are gaps, we will address those, both by establishing our institutions and by working with civil society organizations. Health education and research will also emerge as critical areas of work”.

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