Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama reaffirmed their countries’ strong commitment to advancing public health and biomedical research and programming collaborations between the United States and India. In addition to extensive ongoing India-U.S. collaboration in the health sector, and building on existing ties across academia, public health and scientific communities, new developments include:
• Global Disease Detection Program: The leaders announced India as the seventh Regional Center in the Global Disease Detection (GDD) network. This GDD collaboration will include a range of activities, such as emerging disease detection and response, pandemic influenza preparedness and response, laboratory systems and biosafety, field epidemiology training, health communications, and zoonotic disease investigation and control. Other Regional Centers include Kenya, Thailand, Guatemala, Egypt, China, and Kazakhstan.
• Polio Eradication: India recently developed a bivalent polio vaccine which has potential application in all polio-infected countries. The United States continues to support India’s political and financial commitment to the final stages of polio eradication, and looks forward to successful introduction of the new bivalent vaccine. Since 1999, CDC has provided over $111 million to India for polio eradication and other activities with USAID providing an additional $65 million since 1996.
• Medical Research: Noting a fifty-year history of bi-lateral innovation and discovery in the medical research field, President Obama and Prime Minister Singh agreed to enhance collaborative biomedical, public health and translational research focused on infectious and aging-related chronic diseases, maternal and child health, and family planning, while also strengthening health research capacity and the translation of scientific discoveries into life-saving practices of global benefit.
• Cooperation on Urban Health: The U.S. Agency for International Development will soon launch its new Health of the Urban Poor Program, which aims to improve reproductive and child health in urban poor populations, especially for those dwelling in slums, by building the local capacity, improving program implementation and increasing resource allocation for urban health through policy analysis. The program will work in close collaboration with urban local bodies and Indian national and state governments.
• Health Services and Regulatory Harmonization: The United States and India will continue to collaborate on activities that enhance healthcare for our people, including concrete programs for biomedical technical exchanges, fostering regulatory harmonization, and sharing best practices in technology transfer. The U.S.-India High-Technology Cooperation Group's Working Group on Biotechnology and Life Sciences anticipates expanded work on these topics and promotion of institutional linkages, including a workshop on medical technology regulations in India during early 2010 and at the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s 2010 international convention.
• Status of Health Dialogue: The first meeting of the U.S.-India Health Dialogue is planned for early 2010 in Washington. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sebelius is the U.S. lead and Minister of Health and Family Welfare Azad will lead for India.