IIT Guwahati establishes CoE to develop health-tech for last-mile population

As per Prof. T.G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, Centre is working towards achieving the goals of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in the domain of healthcare technology development

New Delhi: Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati has established the ICMR-DHR Center of Excellence for Biomedical Device and Diagnostics Innovation and Commercialization to cater the technological needs of rural India with a focus on healthcare delivery to the last-mile population.
The Centre of Excellence is presently situated at the Centre of Nanotechnology and Jyoti and Bhupat Mehta School of Health Sciences and Technology of IIT Guwahati.
This multidisciplinary Initiative also in line with the National Education Policy 2020 of Government of India wherein Professors, Researchers, Entrepreneurs, Doctors, and Students from multiple departments join hands under a single umbrella to inculcate research and innovation in the domain of healthcare innovation. The initiative has been led by the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Biosciences and Bioengineering, Electronics and Electrical Engineering, and Design and Mathematics, among others.
Elaborating on the critical work underway ICMR Mission Secretariat at IIT Guwahati, Prof. T.G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, said, “This Centre is working towards realizing the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that all IITs be involved in helping the nation in terms of achieving the goals of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in the domain of healthcare technology development.”
Further, speaking about how this Centre could have a vital impact in rural healthcare, Prof. T.G. Sitharam added, “The center is envisioned to excel in the frugal innovations related to biomedical devices and develop a unique academia-industry model for the product development related to the med-tech innovation in the country. The translational innovations proposed in the centre are expected to cater the societal needs related to the diagnostics and healthcare delivery, especially in the rural India. The technologies innovated may also spur import substitution to materialize the dream of Make-in-India and Atmanirbhar Bharat. ”
Key Objectives of the ICMR Mission Secretariat at IIT Guwahati include: 
♦ Detect biomarkers using microfluidic and semiconductor nanobiosensors to detect various non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as chronic kidney disorder, post diabetic complications, liver or pancreatic malfunctions, cardiac illnesses, and urinary tract infections.
♦ Develop frugal point-of-care diagnostic devices for the collection, storage, security and analysis of the data specific to rural India.
♦ Develop three indigenous products in the domain of healthcare that can be commercially successful in the near future
♦ Innovate indigenous alternatives to healthcare devices (such as auto-analyzers and semi-auto analyzers) imported from other countries under the Government of India’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative.
Elaborating on the functioning of this Centre, Prof. Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Head, Jyoti and Bhupat Mehta School of Health Sciences and Technology, IIT Guwahati, said, “Cutting-edge scientific inventions are the foundation of all modern-day technologies, which helps in improving the quality of life of a human being in a significant way. However, the benefits of such inventions and innovations are yet to reach the rural population of India. In next few decades, especially keeping the post-pandemic scenario in the perspective, the focus of healthcare innovation would be to develop frugal technologies to cater the needs of the last mile population.”
Key outcomes envisaged from this centre include:
♦ An array of frugal point-of-care diagnostic devices
♦ A few pilot scale digital health kiosks catering the digital healthcare to the rural population.
♦ An array of new inventions and innovations targeting the societal needs of the country
♦ Import substitution and development of Indian technologies for the healthcare problems related to India.