“Our collaboration with Sweden has been exemplary and defining. The MoU between India and Sweden is one of the most active and successful bilateral MoUs signed by India in the health sector”, said Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare as he presided over the signing of the Memorandum of Intent for the India Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre at the event to celebrate ten years of successful implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sweden, here today, in the presence of Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MOS (HFW) and Ms. Maja Fjaestad, State Secretary to the Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Sweden.
As Dr. Harsh Vardhan congratulated officials from both nations on keeping the collaboration going with great enthusiasm and utmost dedication, deepening the resolve to continue to work together, he said, “Without your efforts, we wouldn’t have accomplished some remarkable feats that we have been able to. Such collaborations are imperative for India as it moves further along its journey towards a healthcare transformation under the vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi to achieve the vision of ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayah’, which means may all become happy, may all become healthy”.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the India-Sweden partnership has been the most active as the Joint Working Group (JWG) has met ten times since 2009 which has led to substantial progress. The unique point of the MOU is that it has focused on creating new partnerships within the public, private and academic sectors, he added. He further stated that with 22 new AIIMS soon to become fully operational, and 157 new Medical Colleges in the development stage, the scope for further meaningful collaboration in the academic and research areas is immense.
The India-Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre in collaboration between the Swedish Trade Commissioner’s Office, AIIMS Delhi and AIIMS Jodhpur aims to develop an ecosystem of open innovation that start-ups and the healthcare delivery stakeholders can use to collaborate and address current and future challenges in the healthcare sector. It will operate on well-defined challenges and services for stakeholders to build capabilities and methodologies and, help socialize and scale up innovative solutions across the country’s healthcare delivery network. A holistic view of innovation shall be taken which shall include technology, data, protocols and processes, skill development and business models. The key components of this Centre to drive innovation are innovation challenges, incubation, mentorship, live Centre of excellence, skilling, global reach, conferences, digital showroom, white papers and support to access capital sources. This initiative will be in alignment to the Government of India’s Skill India and Start-up India, as well as the priorities agreed between India and Sweden for bilateral cooperation. The Innovation Centre’s objectives and strategic direction will be owned and driven by a pre-defined governance structure manned by representatives from all three collaborators. The Centre will run for an initial period of three years. Its impact will be assessed periodically to enable potential expansion at the end of the initial period of 3 years.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey highlighted the achievements of the government in the health sector such as the NHP 2017, Ayushman Bharat with its twin pillars of HWCs and PMJAY to provide universal health coverage, and various initiatives to provide affordable and easily accessible healthcare to all.
Terming the collaboration with India as “persistent and successful”, Ms Maja Fjaestad stated that the relationship with India has deepened with time. “India is our valued partner, who’s role in the world continues to expand”, she stated. She commended the initiatives in the health sector including Ayushman Bharat, health schemes for the elderly, AMR, and its leadership role in new merging technologies, e-health and digital health.
India and Sweden signed an MoU in February 2009 for collaboration in the field of healthcare and public health. The priority areas of cooperation under the MoU are: (a) Non Communicable Disease, including controlling the associated risk factors of tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy foods (b) Communicable diseases and Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) (c) Public Health Policy (d) Maternal and Child Health (e) Health Resource Development, especially strengthening of midwifery and nursing skills (f) Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (g) Strengthening Health Systems, including e-Health and governance (h) Indigenous Systems of Medicine (i) Health and Medical Research (j) Medical Equipment and Pharmaceutical Products and (k) Health, Environment and Climate Change. Bilateral collaborations are on-going in respect of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, Infectious Disease Control & AMR, Public Health Research and Medical and Pharmaceutical Products; and collaborations in the new thematic areas of ‘Elderly Care’ and ‘Mental Health’ have been contemplated.
Also present at the event were Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW), Health & Family Welfare, Dr Balram Bharagav, DG, ICMR, Mr. Niclas Jacobson, Deputy Director-General at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, and senior officers from MoHFW and Govt. of Sweden.