Toronto, March 29 (IANS) The possibilities of collaboration between India and Canada in making quality medical care available in a cost-effective manner will be explored in the two-day Canada-India Healthcare Summit in New Delhi from Thursday.
A joint initiative by the Canada India Foundation, the Indian government and Apollo Hospitals, the summit will be attended by about 150 delegates from both the countries.
Toronto-based scientist Lucky Lakshmanan, who will chair the summit, said: "The aim of the 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 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.
Canada can reduce the ballooning costs of healthcare by availing India's well-trained medical manpower, expertise in IT, and its successful generic drugs R&D and manufacturing industry, he said.
"India can learn from Canada in taking quality healthcare even to the remotest parts of the country. Canada can benefit from India in providing old-age care to its fast aging population.
"With its huge pool of nurses, India has an opportunity to provide old-age care for Canadians as the population is aging fast and provincial governments in the country are looking at public-private partnership options in old-age care because of the rising costs," Lakshmanan said.
The summit will also focus on how Canada can cut healthcare costs through prevention, by adopting elements of India's traditional and alternative healthcare practices such as Ayurveda and homoeopathy.
It will also explore opportunities for collaboration in research and education and promoting Canada and India as mutually preferred investment destinations in the healthcare sector.
According to Ramesh Chotai, who is a major importer of generic drugs from India, Canada's pioneering research on diabetes and heart disease affecting many Indian can be very useful for healthcare providers in India.
Canada's healthcare market of $300 billion is the country's second largest employer and its pharmaceutical industry is the eighth largest in the world.
India's healthcare is set to grow to $300 billion by 2020.
"Being two very vast countries, both India and Canada face similar challenges of providing healthcare access over a large geographical in a cost-efficient manner," said the summit chairman.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)