Cabinet gives nod to deals on healthcare

The Indian Government has entered into preliminary agreements with Colombia, Swaziland and Equatorial Guinea in relation to cooperation in fields of conventional and traditional healthcare as well as medicinal plants

May 16, 2018

Alongside India’s growth as a centre of highly efficient and affordable healthcare and medicinal services, the nation has also set up the Ministry of AYUSH which promotes healthcare practices under Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy

While, the Indian medical tourism industry, currently valued at around US$3 billion, is expected to touch US$8 billion by 2020, the nation is the second largest exporter of alternative and traditional healthcare, medicinal and wellness services in the world, after China

India has assisted in setting up healthcare infrastructure and human capacity in foreign countries; Parallelly, over the last three years, medical tourism in India has expanded rapidly with more than 130 per cent jump in incoming medical tourists to more than 427,000

India has partnered with Malaysia, Hungry, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, Mongolia, Iran and Trinidad & Tobago to promote AYUSH. As per the WHO, the global herbal market is estimated to reach US$5 trillion by 2050 from the current level of US$6.2 billion

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval to a number of preliminary deals that the Indian Government has signed with the Governments of Colombia, Swaziland and Equatorial Guinea. The agreements are related to cooperation in the fields of conventional and traditional healthcare as well as medicinal plants. Alongside India’s growth as a centre of highly efficient and affordable healthcare and medicinal services, the nation has also set up the Ministry of AYUSH which promotes alternative and traditional healthcare practices under Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy. While, the Indian medical tourism industry, currently valued at around US$3 billion, is expected to touch US$8 billion by 2020, the nation is the second largest exporter of alternative and traditional healthcare, medicinal and wellness services in the world, after China.

The agreement between India and Swaziland relates to cooperation in the field of health and medicine and covers – i) Drugs & Pharmaceutical products; ii) Medical Consumable products; iii) Medical Research; iv) Medical Equipment; v) Public Health; vi) Communicable Disease Control & Surveillance; vii) Health Tourism; and viii) Any other area of mutual interest. A working group will be set up to further elaborate the provisions and oversee the implementation of cooperation. As part of bilateral and multilateral arrangements, India has assisted in setting up healthcare infrastructure and human capacity in foreign countries, especially in the developing regions. Parallelly, over the last three years, medical tourism market in India has expanded rapidly with more than 130 per cent jump in incoming medical tourists to over 427,000. This traffic has been driven by both advanced healthcare and traditional medicines.

Meanwhile, the agreements with Colombia and Equatorial Guinea will lead to promotion of India’s traditional systems of medicines in those countries. The countries will exchange experts for training practitioners, conducting joint research in traditional medicine that is expected to lead to new innovations in drug development and traditional medical practice. Funding for research, training courses, conferences and deputations of experts will be met through the allocated budget and existing schemes of the Ministry of AYUSH. India has partnered with nations such as Malaysia, Hungry, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, Mongolia, Iran and Trinidad & Tobago to promote AYUSH. There is a global resurgence in traditional and alternative healthcare that is resulting in world herbal trade of US$120 billion and is expected to reach US$7 trillion by 2050. India will play a crucial role in catering to the demand growth.

The partnership with Equatorial Guinea includes cooperation in the field of medicinal plants. The financial resources necessary for related research and capacity building will be met from the budget and existing schemes of the National Medicinal Plants Board under the Ministry of AYUSH. India is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biodiversity, having 15 agro-climatic zones. Out of the 17,000-18,000 species of flowering plants, more than 7,000 are estimated to have medicinal usage. About 1,178 species of medicinal plants are estimated to be in trade of which 242 species have annual consumption levels in excess of 100 tonnes per year.

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