New Delhi: Expressing readiness to work together with Australia in healthcare, Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said that in India, this sector is expected to achieve the $275 billion mark by 2030.
In a digital interaction with his Australian counterpart Gregory Andrew Hunt to discuss bilateral health co-operation, he noted that “while Australia has one of the best healthcare systems of the developed world, healthcare in India is one of the fastest growing sectors expected to hit a $275 billion mark in the next 10 years”.
“India’s domestic demand is expected to engine the growth regardless of any turbulence in the global economy. India also offers vast opportunities in R&D and medical tourism,” he said.
Harsh Vardhan also noted that India’s traditional holistic medical systems like ayurveda and yoga can help Australia curb obesity and related diseases.
Elaborating on “health as a social movement” approach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said India’s universal healthcare coverage (under Ayushman Bharat) covers a massive 100 million families and that 10 million individuals have benefitted in the last year alone.
“India is committed to eliminating TB by the year 2025 and has also undertaken efforts for mass screening of non-communicable diseases like hypertension, cancer of breast, lung, throat and mouth.
“India has also made strides in implementing the Digital Health Blueprint to modernise the health sector and enable streamlined delivery of services to the last citizen; affordable medicines that treat cancer and cardio-vascular ailments and cardiac implants are made available to the poorest of the poor under the (Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) programme,” Harsh Vardhan said.
He also said that India’s drug manufacturers have also enabled the country to supply hydroxychloroquin to 140 countries.
Hunt stated that Australia’s Universal Telemedicine has helped tackle 19 million cases so far.
Acknowledging India’s huge role in supplying inexpensive generic drugs supplying 60 per cent of the world’s medicine, he expanded on how India could help Australia in researching new medicines for rare diseases using genomics and stem cell technology.
Both the Health Ministers agreed to continue to jointly work in the area of health and other common interests.
India and Australia had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the field of health and medicine on April 10, 2017. Covering areas like the management of communicable diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, mental health and non-communicable diseases, antimicrobial resistance, regulation of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medical devices and digitisation of health infrastructure, the MoU also covers response to public health emergencies like the present Covid pandemic.