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India in talks of healthcare partnership with Canada

A new  healthcare agreement between India and Canada will be the focus of a summit early next year promoting It is the kind of agreement that has been promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last few months. It may prove important to his administration’s National Health Policy (NHP), a bid to provide universal healthcare to India’s billion-plus population. For the policy to be successful, it will require copious amounts of foreign investment.

This deal, however, is not intended to be a one sided investment. Canadian healthcare costs are consistently rising, a situation the Canadian government is keen to change, as a national healthcare system is inevitably funded by the taxpayer. India in this sense has a large amount to bring to the table, its huge degree of medical manpower, coupled with huge capacity for the production of low cost medication (one which has led to its being termed ‘the pharmacy of the world’). As such, an Indian-Canadian partnership presents a major opportunity for Canada to remedy the ever expanding costs of its healthcare system.

The Indian government has ambitious plans for universal healthcare, taking matters from state to national level as we have noted in previous articles by Health Issues India (HII) have noted. One of the first major partnerships to take place after the announcement of this policy is with Canada, a country renowned for its national healthcare system.

The healthcare system in Canada is far more expensive than India’s own, though with this comes a more consistent standard of quality than is expected in many Indian hospitals, especially those in the public sector. Canada comes with the experience of already running a highly successful healthcare system that is largely government-run.  A partnership of the two nations could aid India in its attempts to implement a similar system.

Indians are genetically more prone to diabetes and heart disease, two areas in which Canada is a world leader in medical research. These are among the specific areas to be discussed at the conference.

Canada is also seeking to improve public-private partnerships to bring down cost of care for the elderly.  India may seek to benefit from this by approving deals to utilise India’s large pool of nurses (Many leaving the country to seek higher wages) to bring in money to the private sector, which may also be of use in funding its own healthcare initiatives.

The biggest importer of Indian generic drugs to Canada,  Romesh Chotai, is the co-chair of the summit.  Following his example, India stands to make a hugely profitable arrangement, providing Canada with cheaper alternative medicine to relieve costs to its own system.
This manner of conference, bringing a number of Canadian private sector companies looking to strike partnership deals with counterparts in India, may be just what the Indian government requires to provide the vast degree of funding needed for its future health strategies. This may set a precedent for similar deals with other nations and could in the long run bring Modi’s NHP plans to fruition – making what once seemed a distant, idealistic dream a near reality.

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