Adding yet another prestigious feather to the Community cap, Pune-based Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla, Founder and Chairman of Serum Institute of India, was recently felicitated with the ‘Degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa’ by the prestigious University of Oxford, UK, at a glittering annual ceremony held by the Universoty, called the ‘Encaenia’. It may add an even greater sense of pride to note that Dr. Poonawalla is the only person to have been honoured with this degree, after Dr. Edward Jenner, who was honoured in the year 1813 in the field of vaccines. Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla has been widely acknowledged for his unparalleled and continuous mission of global immunization and his path breaking philanthropic initiatives.
Founded in 1966, Serum Institute of India is the nation’s top Biotech organization and currently the world’s largest manufacturer of life-saving vaccines by the number of doses, thus saving lives of over thirty million mostly underprivileged children across the globe, who would not have survived without the availability of affordable vaccines. Under Dr. Poonawalla’s vision, the Serum Institute thus protects more than two-thirds of the infant population globally, producing more than 1.5 billion doses a year used in over 170 countries.
Dr. Poonawala is also a great philanthropist, supporting public causes and underserved communities. He has also contributed $5.5 million for a hospital named after his late wife, to treat the underprivileged. Earlier this year, he was felicitated with the first-ever ‘Vaccine Hero’ Award by GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative). He has also been conferred the honorary degree of ‘Doctor of Humane Letters’ by the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA last year for his outstanding contribution in improving the public health for all communities. Dr. Poonawala’s son, Adar, continuing in his father’s glorious footsteps, has featured in Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy list, and is one of the brand ambassadors for the government’s ‘Clean India’ mission.