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India, Africa should form working group on healthcare: Experts

IANS  |  New Delhi 

India and the African countries should mull forming a working group to explore healthcare cooperation, stakeholders and experts said here Monday.

"Cooperation in sharing local-level experiences in healthcare of both the regions will help," Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director of the Medanta group of hospitals, said at a discussion on "Delivering affordable healthcare solutions for Africa".

The discussion took place at the 10th CII Exim Bank conclave of India-Africa Project Partnership.

Trehan said one of the similarities in the healthcare scenarios of India and Africa were that both regions have not been able to eliminate communicable diseases like malaria and were burdened with non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

"A working group to explore issues of healthcare cooperation between India and Africa should be considered," he said.

Asserting that India was committed to help Africa as far as healthcare was concerned, Ranjan Chakravarti, head of transformation and business consulting at Ranbaxy, said: "The setting up of a centralised cell should be explored to address such issues. This will play an effective role in sharing experiences".

A.K. Khanna, executive director of Emcure Pharmaceuticals Limited, said: "In Africa, each and every healthcare provider is focusing on HIV/AIDS."

Though HIV was one aspect of the health issues facing Africa, there were others which were affecting the economy much more. "The disease burden is shifting to diabetes, hypertension and anaemia," he said.

"India also has to think of Africa as an opportunity. Medical tourism is very important and it should be developed properly," he added.

Remy Lamah, health minister of the Republic of Guinea, said: "Africa, specially Guinea, needs to improve the quality of healthcare at the national level."

"We need to focus on pre-natal care and HIV," he added.

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First Published: Mon, March 10 2014. 19:22 IST