Strengthening bond between India, Africa can improve lives: Nadda

New Delhi: Stating that India will extend every type of support to African nations in healthcare and biomedical research, Health Minister J.P. Nadda on Thursday said that strengthening the bonding between both sides will help in improving the lives of communities both in India and the African continent.

Stating that India and Africa are now coming closer to establish cooperation in the area of health to promote their mutual interests, he said: "We must pool in our collective strengths and resources to ensure these diseases are fought using innovative tools and approaches, and benefit from each other's skills and experiences in this regard."

"Our responsibility towards our youth also includes providing them opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways to crafting innovative solutions to human problems, including fighting diseases, poor health and nutrition, and pandemics," said Nadda.

He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of first edition of India-Africa Health Science Summit (IAHSM) in the national capital. The Summit is being attended by the ministers and senior health officials of the African nations.

The Summit' objective is to build, strengthen and enhance India-Africa health science collaborations to address diseases of common concern and to achieve shared health goals. They will identify and prioritise key areas and diseases for partnership, and deliberate on executable strategies to carry forward collaborative initiatives in health research and disease management.

Nadda on the occasion said: "Since the 1990s, there have also been major national and international efforts and programmes to improve the health status of populations in developing and least developed countries. Africa with about 11 per cent and India with approximately 17.6 per cent of the world population are the two major focus areas of such programmes as general improvement in public health in these two regions will bring in major rewards in global productivity."

Jointly organised by Indian Council of Medical Research, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology and the Commerce Ministry, this is the first time four ministries have joined hands with the aim of a harmonised and synergistic approach to engagement with Africa, in the area of health.

The event was also attended by Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitaraman.