Press Releases / Announcements

Press Releases / Announcements

Arogya World Launches Healthy Workplace Program in India

New Healthy Workplace Criteria developed in partnership with PHFI, designed to prevent Non-Communicable Diseases and boost productivity

New Delhi, 6 November 2012: In a pioneering public health effort, Arogya World, a US-based non-profitorganization with a domestic presence in Bangalore, today unveiled new Healthy Workplace Criteriaas the first step of its Healthy Workplace program. Jointly developed by Arogya World and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), after intense deliberations and prior multi-stakeholder consultationswith the IT sector, allied organizations and medical experts at a Bangalore workshop organized byArogya World in February 2012 – these criteria will promote workplace wellness, help reduce theburden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), and offer companies a competitive edge via increasedtalent retention and higher productivity. The Healthy Workplace Criteria were launched today to marktwo important milestones this month: the World Economic Forum Summit on India (6-8 November2012), which has NCDs on its agenda, and World Diabetes Day (14 November).

Workplaces offer an incredible platform for NCD prevention and are a key focus area in India for ArogyaWorld. Speaking at the launch, Dr Geeta Bharadwaj – Head, Healthy Workplace Initiative, ArogyaWorld, Indiasaid: “As chronic disease and stress levels soar and attrition rates rise, it’s imperative thatcompanies shift from illness containment to wellness promotion. Such a paradigm shift would boostpositive work outcomes, improve organizational excellence and promote employee retention.”

At the launch event, besides highlighting the Healthy Workplace Criteria, key stakeholders deliberatedon ‘The ROI from a Healthy Workplace’, at a high-profile interactive session moderated by Mr AshokMalik. The panelists included Dr Sailesh Mohan – Senior Research Scientist, PHFI; Mr Avinash Vashistha– Chairman, Accenture; Dr Balaji S Lakshmipuram – Occupational Physician, IBM; Mr Ravi Mani – SeniorVP, Organizational Excellence, iGate; Dr Nalini Saligram, Founder & CEO, Arogya World, and Chief GuestMr Keshav Desiraju – Special Secretary, Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Also presentwere representatives from organizations such as TiE, World Economic Forum, WHO, Cisco, Aetna and others.

Speaking at the launch event, Mr Keshav Desiraju – Special Secretary, Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare affirmed: “India is committed to reducing the burden of NCDs, which cause 50% of alldeaths in our country. As people spend half their waking hours at work, it is important to increase healthconsciousness at the workplace. I am pleased that workplaces are being used in innovative ‘whole ofsociety’ approaches to combat NCDs.”

Conveying his support for the Healthy Workplace initiative, Prof. K Srinath Reddy – President, PublicHealth Foundation of India said: “India is hard hit by NCDs, with around 20% people harbouring at leastone chronic disease and 10% having more than one. Against this backdrop, workplace wellness effortslike this one, if scaled up, could play a crucial role in effecting a positive public health outcome.”

Workplace wellness programs not only help attract and retain talent, but ensure good returns oninvestment (ROI), particularly important in the wake of the global economic slowdown. “NCDs are oneof the greatest health and development challenges of the century. While it is expected that NCDs willbe responsible for an accumulative global output loss of US$ 47 trillion in the next 30 years, there is astrong business case for the effectiveness of workplace programmes, including a return on investmentof $3-4 for every $1 spent”, said Dr Eva Jane-Llopis, Head – Health Programmes from The World Economic Forum.

As ageing and NCDs – mainly diabetes, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancer and chronic diseases –increasingly afflict workforces, preserving employee health and promoting productivity increases isimperative. In India, NCDs increasingly cause higher death and disease rates, and a WHO report saysCVDs would be the major cause of death and disability in the country by 2020. Diabetes is anotherdangerous disease affecting people all across the nation, with 61.3 million presently afflicted. Ifuntreated, diabetes can lead to CVDs, blindness, amputations and kidney failure. Yet another deadlydisease across urban and rural India is hypertension – the most prevalent chronic disease, with around33% Indians afflicted with hypertension.

In this scenario, workplace wellness initiatives could play a crucial preventive role by boostingawareness about risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, tobacco use and excessivealcohol intake, physical inactivity, and obesity. To promote this important preventive platform, ArogyaWorld’s Healthy Workplace Criteria will institutionalize awards at three levels: Bronze, Silver, and GoldLevel – check attachment. To qualify, companies must meet 80% of the criteria for the specific level thatinclude: Ban on Tobacco Use, Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Work Life Balance, amongst others.

Today industry confronts complex human capital challenges, while the nation faces a huge NCD burden.Arogya World’s Healthy Workplace program helps meet both challenges. The program will recognizecompanies that meet the Healthy Workplace Criteria with Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards to mobilize theworkplace community around healthy living. It will also promote the Healthy Workplaces to industryand media to advance the dialogue on workplace wellness in the country. As part of this program,16-week lifestyle coach-led diabetes prevention sessions in Healthy Workplaces and integration withmHealth programs, such as Arogya World’s mDiabetes, are also planned. The initial focus for the HealthyWorkplace program will be the IT/software industry.
Significantly, the WHO emphasizes that approximately 80% of heart disease and diabetes and 40% ofcancers can be prevented through healthy lifestyles such as avoiding tobacco use, eating healthy foodsand increasing daily physical activity. This is at the core of all of Arogya World’s work.



2011 CGI Commitment MakerArogya World Launches New mHealth Program in India with Nokia Life Tools

New York, September 20, 2011. Arogya World, a US based non-profit organization, announced today a major diabetes prevention mobile health (mHealth) commitment in India, during the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. This initiative, being implemented in association with Nokia, aims to reach one million consumers in rural and urban India over two years, and will raise awareness about diabetes and its prevention through text messages in multiple languages. One of the first nationwide diabetes mHealth initiatives in a developing country, this effort is supported by a consortium of prominent organizations from multiple sectors in India and the US, including Emory University, Synovate, Biocon, LifeScan, Inc., and Aetna.

The commitment takes on a special significance at this time as world leaders gather this week at the United Nations to discuss how to address the global impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes.

India is a diabetes capital: 50 million Indians live with the disease and 1 million die from it every year. Fortunately, there is compelling clinical proof that diabetes is largely preventable – 80% of diabetes cases can be prevented, for example by avoiding tobacco, increasing physical activity, and improving diets.

“Tough challenges in global health can be best addressed through public-private partnerships – no one organization can do it alone,” said Nalini Saligram, Ph.D., founder of Arogya World. “Arogya World is committed to preventing diabetes through lifestyle changes in India, and is leveraging mHealth as a solution to the diabetes crisis. If found effective, our mHealth efforts in India could potentially serve as a benchmark for chronic disease prevention in developing countries, where diabetes and NCDs have the highest impact.”

In executing its commitment, Arogya World will provide free content for six months to both current and new Nokia customers in India who have Nokia Life Tools on their phones and subscribe to Nokia’s health channels. Messages will be delivered as text message alerts, twice a week, in 12 different languages commonly used in the country. Once the initial program is over, the consumers will have the opportunity to opt-in to receive the diabetes awareness and prevention messages at a nominal fee.

“Mobile phones are ushering in an information revolution in the daily lives of millions, especially in the emerging markets. We are very pleased to partner with Arogya World and the other industry partners to take mobile Health services to the next level. Delivering targeted diabetes prevention messages to a profiled audience using our Nokia Life Tools platform, in a sustained and continuous engagement will, we believe, encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle,” said Jawahar Kanjilal, Global Head, Nokia Life Tools.

All partners are making deep and significant contributions towards this commitment. Nokia is providing the innovative Nokia Life Tools platform, a broad reach to consumers throughout India, and is also subsidizing program costs and making available an elaborate translation and transmission infrastructure. Arogya World is developing the diabetes awareness and prevention messages with a strong emphasis on science and behavior change in partnership with Emory University, and is reviewing them for cultural relevancy and technical accuracy with members of its Behavior Change Task Force.

“Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes that include weight loss and increasing physical activity. We believe the use of mobile messaging technology can be a powerful tool in promoting and supporting healthy choices,” said Dr. Linelle Blais from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.

The program’s effectiveness in increasing the awareness of diabetes and improving the adoption of healthy lifestyles, known to prevent the disease, will be measured over the course of the two-year commitment, by working with Synovate, a market research firm.

“We believe this large-scale initiative and the comprehensive assessment of rural and urban consumer behavior being undertaken will provide much data on mHealth effectiveness in chronic disease prevention that is of interest to the public health world,” said Xavier Raj, head of SEDC, a division of Synovate.

“Arogya World is committed to creating innovative, cost-effective public health programs that improve health outcomes for people. Insights from our partners in academia and industry will help us optimize our execution, measure impact and evolve our program to the next level,” commented Raj Dave, a key advisor to Arogya World. Financial support for this program and measurement and evaluation insights will be provided by Arogya World’s corporate partners, Biocon, LifeScan, Inc., and Aetna.

Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon, said, “In order to bend the incidence curve of diabetes in India, innovative and far-reaching national programs will be a requirement.”

“Applications of mobile health messaging in other areas such as maternal/baby health have demonstrated that the technology has tremendous potential as a tool to empower individuals to better manage their health,” said Leona Brenner-Gati, MD, Medical Director, LifeScan, Inc. “We are eager to see if mobile health is found effective in diabetes prevention, screening, and management.”

Sandip Patel, head of Aetna International, said, “Prevention is the most important way to fight non-communicable diseases. Aetna is proud to put our expertise to work analyzing health data and managing diabetes risk as part of this effort. We believe this program will be instrumental in effecting sustainable, lasting social change.”

Arogya World is seeking additional support to fulfill its CGI commitment and to achieve its overall mission.

Background: Nokia Life Tools is designed to address information gaps so that consumers in emerging societies can be better informed and improve their livelihood, with targeted services for Healthcare, Agriculture, Entertainment and Education. Nokia Life Tools is currently live in India, China, Indonesia and Nigeria.

About Arogya World

Arogya World is a US based non-profit organization, committed to changing the course of chronic disease, one community at a time. Globally, the organization advocates for prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Women for a Healthy Future is the organization’s key global advocacy effort. Arogya World is also working on diabetes prevention through lifestyle changes in India, where school-based and mobile health programs are currently in progress. See

Arogya World’s approach is to leverage strong science, partnerships and breakthrough technology to make measurable public health impact. The organization’s Behavior Change Task Force is a key group made up of medical, scientific, health promotion, communications and consumer experts from India, US and the UK – Dr. Francine Kaufman, Dr. Linelle Blais, Andrea Falls, Dr. Ranjani Harish, Dr. Monika Arora, Sukanti Ghosh, Dr. Kanav Kahol and Zoe Hellman. For more information see -

Arogya World was invited to join the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in 2011. This initiative is the organization’s first commitment at CGI.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20-22 in New York City.

This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit


Women for a Healthy Future: New Global Movement Demands Action Against NCDS

September 19, 2011, New York. Today, as world leaders gather at the United Nations for a historic health-focused summit to plan the world’s response to the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), thousands from around the world are demanding action. These women — and some men — from more than 95 countries are signatories on an online petition (, the first activity of a new movement, Women for a Healthy Future. The petition is still open – we encourage women to sign.

Alarmed at the rising impact of NCDs, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and lung diseases, those who have signed this petition are asking government and business leaders to take action now to ensure a healthy future for women and children. The petition letter (see attached) demands that sweeping changes be made in policy and the way business is conducted to reduce the vulnerability of women and children to NCDs.

Started by Arogya World, Women for a Healthy Future is a collaborative effort with 11 other global health and women-focused organizations: Global Health Council, Women Deliver, World YWCA, NCD Alliance, NCD Child, NCD Action, Public Health Institute, Hriday, The Max Foundation, Disruptive Women in Health Care and Beyond Sport. Believing that world leaders should focus their attention on women, children and young people to best tackle NCDs globally, these organizations have joined forces in the spirit of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s “Every Woman, Every Child” agenda to mobilize women against NCDs.

“NCDs are the number one killer of women worldwide, and children and young people today face an uncertain, unhealthy future with the exploding NCD crisis. World leaders have an obligation to address the serious impact of these chronic diseases on women and children,” said Nalini Saligram, founder of Arogya World. “But individual citizens can make a difference too. As heads of households, women in particular are key decisions makers with regard to the food a family eats and its levels of physical activity. It is our generation’s responsibility to fix the NCD crisis, and women can lead the way.”

Women for a Healthy Future are outraged at the injustice of the disproportionate effect of NCDs in developing countries. Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired, Director General of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation in Jordan, a passionate advocate for NCDs and the mother of a cancer survivor, says, “We have to impart on world leaders the need for consolidating the political will to decisively address the harsh disparity in NCD treatment between the developed and the developing world.” She also says: “The chance for a cure, the chance to live, should not be an accident of geography or demographics.”

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, general secretary of World YWCA and an eloquent champion of women’s rights says, “NCDs are a women’s rights and empowerment issue. Though all people the world over are susceptible to the threat of these chronic diseases, they impact girls and women differently, directly affecting their health, their role as caregivers, their livelihoods, and their children’s future. It’s time the world stood up to take care of women, because women in turn take care of the whole world.”

After the UN Summit, Women for a Healthy Future will continue to mobilize women from around the world in the fight against NCDs. Educational materials empowering women to help their children and families make healthy choices will be developed and distributed. We are also planning a survey on women’s perspectives on NCDs, chronicling the views of about 1000 women from around the world on what they see as key priorities that policymakers and businesses should act on. Finally, we will marshal the power of women to advocate at local and global levels with government and business leaders and make lasting change.

Women interested in joining this movement can write to and find more information

Why We Started the Petition

NCDs are changing the global health agenda as we know it, causing two out of three deaths in the world today. We feel it is time to face them head on and come up with practical ways to address this global crisis.

We believe NCDs are a social justice issue. 80% of deaths from NCDs occur in developing countries, where people have lower access to medicines, health care, and healthy lifestyles. NCDs can push families into poverty, and poverty in turn worsens NCDs.

We are alarmed that 50,000 women die from NCDs every single day. Girls and women are at a particular disadvantage for getting chronic diseases, as 60% of the world’s poor are women, and many are malnourished, uneducated and sometimes don’t have ready access to prevention efforts such as sports due to cultural stereotypes.

We are also fiercely concerned about the future of our children. Children have a right to health, and they deserve a promising future. We see that NCDs are eroding and threatening that future.

Surely something can and must be done. These are among the reasons that led to the petition.

About Arogya World: Arogya World is a US based non-profit organization, committed to changing the course of chronic disease, one community at a time. Women for a Healthy Future is the organization’s key global advocacy effort. Arogya World is also working on diabetes prevention through lifestyle changes in India, where school-based and mobile health programs are currently in progress. See

For more information contact: Arogya World:; NCD Child, a project managed by CLAN:; NCD Action:; NCD; Global Health Council:; Women; World YWCA:


Petition letter: We Demand a Healthy Future, Free of Chronic Disease

To: Government and Business Leaders from Around the World

NCDs, non-communicable diseases, are one of this century’s greatest health and development challenges. These diseases are the leading cause of death for women and threaten our children’s future. Yet NCDs are largely preventable: stopping tobacco, increasing physical activity and eating a healthy diet can prevent 80% of heart disease and diabetes and 40% of cancer. As gatekeepers of the food our families eat and the physical activities they engage in, we believe that women are a powerful part of the solution to the NCD crisis and deserve an important seat at the table.

We think that great strides can be made in the fight against NCDs if world leaders focus on women and children. This September, as you gather at the United Nations to discuss the global impact of the NCD crisis, we, women from around the world, ask you to: Reduce the vulnerability of women and children to NCDs.

We call on you to –

  • Educate women
    • About healthy pregnancies, safe childbirth, and the dangers of low birth weight. This will both save lives today, and help to prevent NCDs in future generations.
    • That checkups, screenings and early diagnosis are key to saving lives.
    • Help women live healthy lives
      • Address inequities in healthcare access, treatment and care. Survival should not be an accident of income and geography.
      • Make real investments to understand and address critical gender-specific differences in morbidity and mortality from diseases including NCDs.
      • Increase access to clean cookstoves the world over.
      • Help us to make the next generation healthier. Our children have a right to health and a promising future.
        • We ask for your commitment to reduce the marketing of calorie-dense foods high in salt, fat or sugar, ie “junk” foods, and tobacco and alcohol to children and adolescents.
        • Tax tobacco products. Ban the sale of sugary soft drinks in schools. Take big steps to reduce salt intake, in consultation with multiple stakeholders, with legislation if needed.
        • Promote and enable participation in sports and fitness activities among children and adolescents, especially girls.

The cost of inaction is far higher than the cost of action. Sweeping changes to policy and the way we do business are needed NOW to ensure healthy futures for women and children.

Together, we can, and must, change the course of chronic disease, one community at a time. This is our responsibility. The status quo is not OK. The future of our children — and that of the children of the future — is at stake.


Arogya World Announces Framework for Healthy Schools and Healthy Workplace ‘Seal of Approval’ in India

11 Nov 10, New Delhi: Arogya World launched the framework for its Healthy Schools* and Healthy Workplace# ‘Seal of Approval’ in New Delhi this morning, to mark World Diabetes Day, 14 November 2010.  The programme, which has been developed in partnership with HRIDAY-SHAN, the Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC), and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), prominent Delhi-based public health organizations, is based on a thorough review of existing guidelines in India and the United States.  Schools and workplaces in India will be invited to participate in this initiative, and will be recognized for their health promotion efforts.  More details on the Seals of Approval will be available at

Dr. Nalini Saligram, the founder of Arogya World, a non-profit organization that, in India, is fostering prevention of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes through lifestyle changes, said, “We have, taken on the huge challenge of tackling chronic diseases such as diabetes in India head on. These two Seals of Approval are a pivotal part of Arogya World’s India programme and we believe they will motivate schools and workplaces to promote better health, building momentum for a health movement in the country.”

Speaking during the launch Dr. Monika Arora, Senior Director of HRIDAY-SHAN, and faculty member of PHFI, said, “Behaviors get etched at an early age and health promotion in schools provide a conducive environment to adopt healthy lifestyle practices during these formative years, which can have a lasting and lifelong effect on individuals and their families. Youth engagement benefits young people not just at individual level but also empowers them to become change agents to influence community behaviors as well”.

Dr. Prabhakaran, head of CCDC, and faculty member of PHFI said, “There is compelling evidence that exercise, diet and avoiding tobacco can prevent serious non-communicable diseases like diabetes which is reaching pandemic proportions in this country. Work places are an ideal platform for such public health interventions”.

Ms. Rita Banerjee, health activist and film maker said, “Good health is a gift and we cannot take it for granted. I think every individual has to be responsible for their health and make an effort to be fit. It is the foundation for everything we do in our lives.”

Arogya World is also organizing an event on 14 November 2010, World Diabetes Day, at Dilli Haat to create public awareness on diabetes and its prevention. Experts on the subject will be there to provide information and answer questions.


Arogya World works to reduce the global impact of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), one community at a time.  Serving as a global catalyst, the organization is putting a spotlight on NCDs, and is at the forefront of a movement that is galvanizing action to prevent these serious diseases. The incidence of diabetes has reached catastrophic levels. In India, the organization is demonstrating its commitment to this urgent health crisis by focusing its efforts on prevention of diabetes through lifestyle changes.

Arogya World is a U.S. based non-profit organization striving to change the course of chronic disease.  The name of the organization is simply an articulation of its mission: Arogya in Sanskrit means good health.  More literally it means to live a life without disease. See for more information.

HRIDAY – SHAN (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth Student Health Action Network) is a voluntary organization of public health professionals, social scientists and lawyers, engaged in advocacy aiming to promote health awareness and informed health activism among youth in India, since 1992, with a goal to reduce the burden of chronic diseases in India. The HRIDAY- SHAN school and community based health education programmes have been successful in inculcating healthy lifestyle practices among Indian youth (results evaluated and published). Informed health advocacy by youth is an innovative component which has helped to catalyze health action in tobacco control and through the HRIDAY-SHAN programmes schools have become portals of health education for neighborhood communities. It was awarded the WHO Director General’s Award for contributions to tobacco control in 2002. This programme has been listed as a ‘Best Practice Model’ and recommended for global replication by WHO.

Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC) is a New Delhi based not-for-profit research organization of health professionals and social scientists engaged in knowledge generation and knowledge translation for the prevention and control of non-communicable (chronic) diseases in varied settings of the developing countries. CCDC functions as the Scientific Secretariat for the Initiative for Cardiovascular Health Research in the Developing Countries (IC –Health). IC Health is a global partnership programme, involving 14 global organizations including the Global Forum for Health Research and the World Health Organization which jointly launched the programme in 1999.

The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) is an institute that focuses on broad dimensions of public health that encompass promotive, preventive and therapeutic services, many of which are frequently lost sight of in policy planning as well as in popular understanding.


* The Framework for Healthy Schools Seal of Approval is now open for comment.  We are inviting broad stakeholder input to refine the criteria and reach consensus.

# The Framework for Healthy Workplace Seal of Approval is now open for comment.  We are inviting broad stakeholder input to refine the criteria and reach consensus.