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India’s digital health push goes international at BRICS

Flags of the BRICS countries in the blue sky.In a meeting of BRICS nations, India is expanding its digital health push to the international level by hosting a summit on the same. 

The BRICS summit – bringing together Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa – is taking place in Brazilian capital Brasilia with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance. “The Prime Minister has announced that India will host a BRICS Digital Health Summit on innovative solutions to healthy lifestyle which will seek to integrate digital technology with healthcare informatics and diagnostics,” reported T. S. Tirumurtri, a Secretary of Economic Relations in the Union Ministry of External Affairs. 

The BRICS Summit carried the theme of ‘Economic growth for an innovative future.’ Healthcare is one of the fields where innovation in the field of digital technology can fuel India’s development. A digital healthcare blueprint has been devised by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan announced the same earlier this year with the goal of “[establishing] state-of-the-art digital health systems…managing the core digital health data [by creating] a system of personal health records, based on international standards and easily accessible to the citizens and healthcare providers.” The use of digital technology has been praised by Vardhan in government-run health schemes, including Ayushman Bharat, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, and the Nikshay Poshan Yojana.

Vardhan recently urged stakeholders to work towards the implementation of the blueprint, expressing hope that India’s digital health push can move it towards universal healthcare. “After Cabinet approval,” he added, “[the] National Digital Health Blueprint shall pave the way for India to take leadership in providing a holistic approach for digital healthcare interventions.”

The Centre launched a Digital India programme in 2015 to empower Indians through the use of technology. With India’s digital health push going global, it suggests that the country is positioning itself as a world leader in the field of digitised, technology-based healthcare. 

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