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India and Africa see Strategic Partnerships as Way Forward for Universal Health Coverage

India and Africa view that the way forward is through strategic partnerships to build health innovations in Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The need of a working collaboration between the two is aimed at documenting factors and facilitating development and integration of innovations into service delivery. While India already has the required ingredients of innovation, along with a huge demand and supply in place, it is the new regulations, trust and transparency that will now hold key to manage the rapid changes. Africa presents creation of new kinds of partnership between public and private sectors. Stating that the government needs to recognize and maximize the impact of innovative approaches, Dr Patricia Odero, regional director, Africa, Duke Global Health Innovation Center and Innovation in Healthcare pointed out that there is a need to draw on a broad scope for leadership and managerial experience in developing an agency. At this point of time, it is the government which can be a market aggregator and create an economic opportunity to spur innovation.

With a focus to encourage health innovations in India and Africa, a conclave was organized by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Amref Africa, the Institute of Development Studies, UK (IDS UK), Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar in partnership with NITI Aayog. This event hosted at the GE Healthcare Center in Bengaluru deliberated on ways to leverage the transformational potential of these innovations and accelerate progress towards achieving UHC in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in Asia and Africa. Prof. Vinod Paul, Member NITI Aayog said that under the Union government’s Ayushman Bharat program, there will be opportunities for health innovators from various areas to contribute to building stronger health systems for the country.

It is a fact that government of India is working to foster innovations and has approached the World Bank for a fund which is a multi-donor financing model. Therefore, we are encouraging health innovations and looking to provide opportunities for innovations which can improve access, delivery and affordability of healthcare services, stated Alok Kumar, advisor, NITI Aayog. Chipping in his expertise was Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, President, PHFI who said that Sustainable Development Goals have positioned UHC as a target to be delivered by 2030. For India, encouraging and supporting healthcare innovations that enable health services to reduce the burden of diseases at different levels of the health system and prevent disease at the population level are a high priority. These innovations must have relevance, affordability and scalability for impact.

“Therefore, building partnerships in health is also essential so that research explores, science discovers, technology develops, and the health system delivers. India can become the creative crucible of frugal, functional innovations that can transform health care,” he added. Desta Lakew, Director Amref Africa said that there is much to learn from healthcare models of India and Africa as well as steps forward at a follow up meeting in Kigale at the Africa Agenda Summit. The experts at the conclave explored private-public sector collaborations that accelerate the adoption of new healthcare delivery models and novel models of health financing, apart from integration of innovation into the provision of services at scale. – PharmaBiz

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