Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare today chaired the inaugural session of the annual conference of the India Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre – ‘health talks,’ under Sweden India Nobel memorial week.
Reminding everyone that the cooperation in the field of health between the two countries has been long standing for which the 10th year celebration took place in 2019 with much adulation, the Minister said, “We all remember the event that saw the inauguration of the India-Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre by King of Sweden Gustaf the 16th in 2019.”
Expressing his pleasure that the cooperation between the two countries has bloomed into a multi-stakeholder relationship, Dr. Harsh Vardhan noted “The inclusion of policy makers, academia and industry will play a key role in innovation and I look forward to the synergies being created in the process.”
Speaking on COVID, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “No conversation on healthcare today is complete without underlining the massive challenge that the planet has faced in the last ten months on account of the COVID19 pandemic. However, each challenge also has a silver lining to it. The global pandemic has taught us that our shared challenges also require shared responsibilities. Collaborations and synergies have become the order of the day. We can no longer work in silos. We have to create global synergies like never before.”
He continued in this regard, “It is on the same lines that our two honourable Prime Ministers have expressed the desire to enhance cooperation between the two nations. During this time, I too had the opportunity to deliberate with the Swedish Health Minister.” He added that he looked forward to hearing about the strategic plans emerging from the Joint Working Group set-up under the MoU which is going to meet next week, to further increase health cooperation between the two countries.
Applauding the positive outcomes resulting from the bilateral MoU, Dr.Harsh Vardhan said, “The India Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre is also in the process of setting up a Centre of Excellence at AIIMS Jodhpur on Cancer Care. This will help patients to better understand and manage their disease, the treatment plan and the prognosis. It will also help them to manage complex medication regimes, ensure treatment compliance and minimize complications resulting in improving quality of life for patients and caregivers.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan was also invited to witness the announcement of the winners of the first Innovation Challenge of the Centre; as many as 8 problem statements across therapy areas including NCDs and COVID19 were identified and startups across India and Sweden were invited to apply. The challenge warranted the inclusion of Digital Tools, Med-Tech, Tele-Medicine, and Artificial Intelligence backed solutions which would improve the efficiency of healthcare systems. The Innovation Challenge received an overwhelming response of 468 applications which then went through a rigorous evaluation process for identification of 14 winners.
Congratulating the winners, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “In India we have a lot of Innovation, the challenge is to scale these ideas, and we support the vision of the Centre towards supporting the scale up within and outside India.” He expressed confidence that the technological and knowledge partners associated with this collaboration and the Institutes will together guide these entrepreneurs to success.
Mr. Klas Molin, Ambassador of Sweden to India, Mr. Niclas Jacobson, Deputy DG & Head of Division for EU & International Affairs, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Government of Sweden, Mr. Anders Tofte, Swedish Trade Commissioner to India were also present in the event
Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS New Delhi, Dr. Sanjeev Misra, Director, AIIMS Jodhpur, Dr. Kuldeep Singh and Dr. Minu Vajpayee (AIIMS New Delhi) represented the medical community.
Sh. Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Sh. Nilambuj Sharan, Economic Advisor, Sh. Lav Agarwal, Jt. Secretary, and other senior officials were present from the Health Ministry.