American manufacturing giant General Electric's healthcare unit has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SAMEER, a research and development (R&D) lab under the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), to co-develop an indigenous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.
GE Healthcare and SAMEER will collaborate on the research, design and development of a 1.5 Tesla MRI platform that will give rise to whole-body, portable and digital MRI machines. The multinational firm has supplied the magnet, which is one of the most critical components, for the prototype MRI machine that SAMEER is developing.
SAMEER is an independent lab set up inside IIT Mumbai by MeitY for doing R&D work in microwave engineering and electromagnetic engineering technology.
"GE Healthcare has decades of know-how on MRI technology, which is one of the most advanced and complex form of medical imaging. We are delighted to share this expertise, and partner with SAMEER in this exciting journey that will significantly enhance India's capability and competitiveness in the field of medical technology," said Kieran Murphy, president and CEO, GE Healthcare.
The move to develop indigenous MRI capabilities came as a mandate from the Government of India to boost the country's capabilities in the medical technology space. The government has already provided the first $6.5 million to SAMEER to build a prototype of its MRI machine, for which it is seeking help from GE.
Apart from working with SAMEER, GE Healthcare, through its joint venture partnership with Wipro in India, is also looking to grow skilling to support the government's Ayushman Bharat universal healthcare scheme. The company expects demand for its devices to go up as healthcare becomes more accessible, and is looking to train people who can operate these machines.
GE has partnered with Healthcare Sector Skills Council (HSSC) to train 5,000 community health workers and 3,000 youth by 2019. The company said HSSC's partner network will also get access to GE Healthcare's digital learning tools to enable workers, especially women and underprivileged youths.