Africa seeks Indian investment in healthcare

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Several African countries are seeking Indian investment in tertiary healthcare and supply of affordable medicines to its population.

According to Hussain Ali Mwinyi, Tanzania's health minister, the best way to increase abilities was by universal healthcare. "We require good healthcare for the middle class." He welcomed Indian investment in tertiary healthcare in his country, specially in the sector of telemedicine, which he said would help reduce healthcare costs.

India is running one such tele-medicine centre in Tanzania, Mwinyi said Monday at the 9th India-Africa Conclave in which over 900 delegates from 45 African countries are participating.

Citing similar needs, Mozambique Health Minister Alexander Manguele said: "We encourage Indian pharma companies to support improvement of the health of the people.

"We encourage both public and private health sector participation in building health services," he said.

Manguele said only 40 percent of health requirements of his country were being met now.

According to Ethiopian Health Minister Kebede Worku, African countries were facing increased burden of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension.

"We would like to invite investment from India for providing affordable medicine supplies," he said, adding Ethiopia was importing 75-80 percent of its medicines and 100 percent of medical equipment.

Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director of Medanta-Medicity hospitals in Gurgaon, near Delhi, said: "India and Africa need to create a fusion of traditional and Western medicines.

"We (India and Africa) are natural collaborators as we have the same challenges," he said.

India, he said, was planning to train its 4.8 million-strong primary health workers team of Ashas or accredited social health workers to the next level of expertise over the next 10 years.

Global strategies Vice President Ranbaxy Ranjan Chakrabarty said Africa and India have the same broad similarities in health scenarios.

"The pharma companies of India have made possible many African countries access medicine," he said.

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