India, US to set up four working groups on health sector

India, US to set up four working groups on health sector

Washington: India and the US have agreed to set up four working groups to advance cooperation and establish common goals between two countries in health sector.

In a meeting with the Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad last week US health secretary Kathleen Sebelius floated the idea the working groups that will serve to engage all relevant parts of each government.

Azad, on a week-long trip to the US, welcomed the proposal and suggested that nursing and paramedical education, quality assurance, health informatics and mental health on non-communicable diseases be included in the mandate of these working groups.

The health minister emphasised on the need for an oversight mechanism to review all collaborative partnerships between US and India, besides the need for a strong US position in support of the ‘One World OneHealth’ concept in the context of Avian and Pandemic Influenza.

With India emerging as a global provider of health manpower, Azad also raised the need to upgrade nursing and paramedical education in India to international standards introducing, institutions of nurse practitioner and emergency paramedic.

Azad asked his American counterpart to explore the possibility of a tie between US medical institutes of excellence and the six AIIMS like institutes being set up by the Indian government.

The meeting set into motion the dialogue on the India US Health Initiative, which reflects the continuing partnership between the two countries with health as the fulcrum.

This was the second meeting between the two leaders within a short span of one month.

Azad invited Sebelius to visit India for the next round of discussions under the India US Health Initiative.

Acknowledging the efforts being made by India for polio eradication, Sebelius expressed the desire to work together for achieving this goal.

The establishment of the Global Disease Detection Centre also came up for discussion and it was agreed that both sides needed to expedite finalisation of the MoU on this issue.

During his stay here, Azad addressed the annual convention of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in which he outlined the reforms process being implemented in the health sector in India and highlighted the fertile opportunities for public private partnerships that were now emerging in the Indian health sector.

During his weeklong tour to the USA, Azad also visited the Centre for Disease Control Atlanta where he held discussions with the top management of CDC about strengthening epidemiological surveillance systems in India.

He also visited the National Institutes of Health which he described as centres of research and academic excellence.

During discussions with the top scientists of these institutes areas for possible collaboration in the future were also identified.