There is a yawning gap between the demand and supply of medical equipment. India imports over 70 percent of medical devices, including high-end equipment such as CT scan, MRI, Cath lab and Linear Accelerator (LINAC), used in the treatment of cancer. This will soon become a thing of the past with Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu inaugurating the first phase of the AP MedTech Zone (AMTZ), at Peda Gantyada. Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey was present. India’s import bill on medical devices is of the order of ₹30,000 crore a year. The indigenous production will help in cutting down the import bill by 50 percent and making healthcare available to the poor at about half the cost. The AMTZ will roll out the above-mentioned high-end equipment, to be manufactured indigenously, once it becomes fully functional.
KIHT is another first
The research part would be taken up by the Kalam Institute of Health Technology (KIHT), located on the same premises. Hundreds of prototypes, developed at IITs, IISc, universities and engineering colleges, and lying in the institutions, would be auctioned to the prospective manufacturers for manufacture and testing. The KIHT, being set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), as a Government of India Project, at AMTZ will be the first of its kind in memory of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The common scientific research facilities would be developed by the Central and State governments.
“The KIHT will complement the AMTZ, making the MedTech Park, the only of its kind in the world to have all the activities pertaining to research and manufacture of medical devices in a single place,” AMTZ CEO Jitendar Sharma told The Hindu in the past. “We can soon graduate from a ‘glove, syringe’ country to high-end medical equipment manufacturing country,” Dr. Sharma had said. World Health Organization (WHO) representative in India Henk Bekedam was optimistic that India could soon become a global hub for the manufacture of medical devices. While quality and safety of the devices was of paramount importance, affordability was another key factor. Senior Adviser on Medical Devices, WHO Headquarters, Adriana Velaquez, underlined the importance of adopting better technologies for making medical devices affordable and acceptable. – The Hindu