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Muppuri donates $11.4 million prize money to medical scholarships

Published:Wednesday | December 29, 2021 | 12:11 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen (left) presents the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Award to Dr Guna Muppuri.
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen (left) presents the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Award to Dr Guna Muppuri.

WESTERN BUREAU:

MONTEGO BAY businessman Dr Guna Muppuri has revealed that he would be donating the TT$500,000 (J$11.4 million) in prize money from the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Award to fund medical scholarships for “needy and deserving” students in the region.

Muppuri, principal of the Bioprist Group, received the award from Governor General Sir Patrick Allen mere weeks after the Government bestowed him with the Order of Distinction (OD) in October.

The national award recognised Muppuri’s services in the fields of medicine, pharmaceuticals and community service, in an extension of the philanthropic activities that have been part and parcel of his business success.

“I am honoured to have received both awards. Of course, to receive a national honour from my adopted country is very special,” said Muppuri, who was born in India and came to Jamaica to do his medical internship in 1992.

Having worked in the public health system and as a private doctor, Muppuri, who later gained Jamaican citizenship, also built several businesses, including the Bioprist Group, Indies Pharma, the Bioprist Knowledge Parks business process outsourcing enterprise and Trident Pharmacy.

His prize money for the Caribbean award, he noted, would be used to assist Caribbean students in need.

“It is part of giving back to a region that has afforded me so many opportunities for growth and success through hard work and dedication,” he stated.

The scholarship prize money, he explained, will allow recipients to be among the first batch of entrants to the Bioprist Institute of Medical Sciences (BIMS), a partnership between the Bioprist Group and The University of the West Indies.

“BIMS will be housed at the western campus of the university’s medical faculty, at the medical tourism complex that we are developing,” Muppuri pointed out.

He says he could think of no better way to dedicate the Caribbean award than to provide training opportunities for some needy and deserving Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals, while seeking to increase the pool of skilled medical professionals in Jamaica and the region.

The scholarships will allow recipients to be among the first batch of entrants to BIMS.

About half of the $2.6 billion required to build out the medical institute has already been raised through equity and loan financing from National Commercial Bank and Victoria Mutual Group, the businessman, who is also chief executive officer of listed pharmaceutical company Indies Pharma, told The Gleaner.

Muppuri said he is in the process of securing another $1.3 billion in funding to complete the second phase of the medical training facility.

BIMS is part of a broader project to create a medical tourism development – the Grand Ridge Medical City – estimated to cost more than $48 billion. Both facilities will be located on 65 acres of land acquired at Ironshore in Montego Bay.

Initially, BIMS will train doctors only when it begins operations during its planned 2022 start-up, but is expected to expand later to include training in other health professions including dentistry, nursing and chiropractic health.

A 300-bed teaching and research hospital is part of the plan.

The Anthony N. Sabga Award is presented by the Trinidadian conglomerate ANSA McCAL Group and is named in honour of its founder. The programme recognises outstanding Caribbean persons in the areas of science, entrepreneurship, community service and the arts.

Other Jamaican 2021 awardees included disabilities advocate Senator Dr. Floyd Morris and director of the Natural Products Institute of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Professor Rupika Delgado.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com