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TORONTO: Canada, which has one of the best universal healthcare systems in the world, is an ideal partner for India in the latter’s quest for better and more accessible healthcare for its citizens.
On the flip side, Canada can reduce its ballooning costs of providing universal healthcare by availing of India’s well-trained medical manpower, expertise in IT, its knowledge and practice of traditional and alternative healthcare and its successful generic drugs R&D and manufacturing industry.
This mutual incentive is the driver for the first-ever Canada India Healthcare Summit organized by Canada India Foundation, a non-profit, public policy organization promoting stronger ties between the two democracies. The Summit will be held in New Delhi on March 30-31, 2017.
Making the announcement about the Summit here in Toronto, well-known Toronto-based Indo-Canadian scientist and entrepreneur Dr. “Lucky” Lakshmanan, Chair of the summit, said, “ The aim of the Canada-India Healthcare Summit is to leverage the strengths of the two countries in this field for each other’s benefit. Canada’s strength is in providing quality healthcare coast-to-coast, albeit to a relatively smaller population, India’s strength, borne out of necessity, is the ability to deliver healthcare at low-cost for its citizens, although its current resources and expertise limit accessibility of quality healthcare for all its citizens.’’
He said, “Of particular interest to India is Canada’s ability to take quality healthcare even in the remotest of its regions.” Canada can also benefit from India in providing old-age care to its fast aging population. “With its huge pool of nurses, India also has an opportunity to provide old-age care for Canadians as the population is aging fast and provincial governments in Canada are looking at public-private partnership options in old-age care because of the rising costs,’’ Dr Lakshmanan added.
Dr. Lakshmanan was joined in his announcement by Summit Co-Chairs, Mr. Ramesh Chotai, a major player in Canada’s pharmaceutical sector and a major importer of generic drugs from India and Mr. Rahul Reddy, Senior Vice-President of India’s Apollo Hospitals, as well as Mr. Akhil Tyagi from the Ministry of International Trade in the Government of Ontario, who will himself be a leading a trade delegation of Ontario’s healthcare companies to participate in the Summit and to connect with companies in India’s medical industry.
“The substantial number of people of Indian origin has triggered some important research in Canada on diabetes and heart disease affecting many Indians. Pioneering work being done these fields can be very useful for healthcare providers in India”, Mr. Chotai said.
“Ontario’s trade delegation will be made up of companies involved in hospital infrastructure, medical devices, telemedicine and medical equipment”, Mr. Tyagi said
Mr. Reddy, who had taken part in the previous Healthcare Summit organized by Canada India Foundation in 2015, highlighted the tremendous growth in India in terms of high quality healthcare, epitomized by his own organization and others. Apollo Hospitals is currently collaborating with Ontario’s William Osler hospitals, who will also be taking part in the upcoming Summit.
For Canada, the highlight of the summit will be understanding how India’s expertise in IT can help bring down the cost of Canada’s universal healthcare. “By using Indian IT expertise, Canadian doctors and nurses in big cities like Toronto can guide health care staff in far-off areas in delivering quality healthcare to people,’’ said Dr Lakshmanan.
The summit will also look at how Canada can cut healthcare costs through prevention, by adopting elements of India’s traditional and alternative healthcare practices such as Ayurveda and homoeopathy.
Ms Dipika Damerla, minister responsible for Seniors Affairs and Mrs Amrit Mangat, MPP, both strong supporters and past participants in CIF’s Canada India forum series, also addressed the press conference.