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Minister of Health and Family Welfare meets US Secretary of Health

Washington, DC

Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Health & Family Welfare met on 25th June 2010 at Washington DC, Mrs Kathleen Sebelius, US Secretary(Minister) for Health & Human Services to set into motion the dialogue on the India US Health Initiative. This initiative reflects the continuing partnership between the two countries with health as the fulcrum. This is the second meeting between the two leaders within a short span of one month. Secretary Sebelius and Mr Azad discussed topics of mutual interest. 

Mr Azad raised the following issues with the American side:

a. The need for an oversight mechanism to review all collaborative  partnerships between USA and India. 

b. The need for a strong US position in support of the ‘One World OneHealth’ concept in the context of Avian & Pandemic Influenza. 

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

d. The need to explore the possibility of a tie between US medical institutes of excellence and the six AIIMS like institutes being set up by the Govt. Of India.

The American side suggested the setting up of four working groups that will serve to engage all relevant parts of each government to advance cooperation and to establish common goals. The Health Minister welcomed the proposal and also suggested that mental health be included in the working group on non communicable diseases and further that issues of nursing and paramedical education, quality assurance and health informatics also needed to be included in the mandate of these working groups.  

The US Secretary of Health & Human Services acknowledged the efforts being made by India for Polio Eradication and 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.  

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

Later in the day, Mr Azad addressed the annual convention of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI). Addressing the well attended Mr Azad 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 week long tour to the USA, the Health & Family Welfare Minister 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. The Minister also visited the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC 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.