India-Nigeria forge stronger ties to reach the ‘Last Mile’ in healthcare

HEAL-Thy Samvad highlights a unified approach and collaborative efforts for a healthier global health infrastructure

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New Delhi: In a step towards fortifying global healthcare infrastructure post-pandemic, the inaugural session of HEAL-Thy Samvad brought together healthcare experts, policymakers, and representatives from India and Nigeria.
The event emphasized the critical need for collaborative healthcare efforts between the two nations, advocating for a robust partnership that could serve as a model for other countries in the Global South.
Representing the Nigerian Student Association, Abu Bakr stated, “Nigerian citizens are increasingly seeking medical services in India. Nigeria – the most populous nation in Africa, rapidly developing with a booming GDP of $400 billion, Nigeria is an active member of the Global South. Many Indian doctors are already in Nigeria, and there’s immense scope for further engagement.”
The session promoted a unified approach to healthcare, underscoring the importance of “One Health,” which integrates capacity building, technological advancement, and international partnerships. Dr. R.K. Srivastav, former Chairman of the Medical Council of India, stressed the need for various healthcare components – doctors, systems, and pharma – to come together to better serve patients.
Dr. Zoya Ali Rizvi, Deputy Commissioner at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, stated, “We must work together – stakeholders, NGOs, and UN organizations – to reach all beneficiaries. Local NGOs are vital in bridging the last-mile gap.” She highlighted the Ministry’s ambitious goal to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025 through a unified effort involving the healthcare sector, state governments, local NGOs, and community-based organizations.
Dr. Urvashi Prasad, Director at NITI Ayog, noted, “India’s focus on aligning local efforts with global goals, especially through G20 and Global South initiatives. State governments are quicker in local efforts, emphasizing collaboration. As a cancer patient, she advocates for patient inclusion in pharma. The recent TB surge highlights health equity, with technology crucial for awareness and combat, underscored by the pandemic’s wake-up call against complacency.”
Dr. Rajiv Chhibber, Vice President of External Affairs at Sahajanand Medical Technologies Ltd., echoed the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’ (universal kinship), emphasizing, “Digital health is the new way of life. Technology, research, and healthcare providers must work together. The AAA rule – Accessibility, Affordability, and Availability – should be healthcare’s pillars. We need to enhance capacity building and ensure technology is available to all. Infectious diseases are another critical focus area for global health. By following a holistic approach, we can achieve excellence in healthcare.”
Healthcare luminaries from FICCI and ASSOCHAM, including Vivek Seigell, Public Policy Expert for Business and Economic Growth; Dr. Ravi Gaur, Founder of Path Lab and FICCI Healthcare Group member; Jatin Mahajan, MD of J. Mitra & Co. Pvt. Ltd.; Atantra Das Gupta, Senior Director at Samsung HME; Ishan Pandita, Additional Director at FICCI; and Diwesh Kumar Mishra, CMD of Donias Megalink Limited shared their insights during the session, further enriching the discourse on global healthcare collaboration.