The Gujarat State Health and Family Welfare Department’s recent signing of Knowledge Sharing MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding) with as many as 52 International and National institutions was recognized and the MoU partners felicitated during a Panel Discussion on the Human Development Index today at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar. The correlation between a country’s Human Development Index rankings and its health parameters was the subject of the panel discussion with the theme, ‘Human Development Index – Focus on Health Parameters’ between leading experts and various officials of the Government of Gujarat.

The panel discussion organized as part of the ongoing Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2011 was attended by the Hon’ble Minister for Health, Tourism and NRG, Shri Jay Narayan Vyas and included a host of speakers including Shri Rajesh Kishore, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) in the Government of Gujarat; Ms. Anju Sharma, Mission Director of the National Rural Health Mission Project, Government of Gujarat; Prof. Ravindra Dholakia, Professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; Dr M R Girinath, Chairman Cardio-Vascular Surgery, Apollo Hospital; Ms Yashashree Gurjar, Chief Executive Officer, Avantha Foundation and B Suryanarayanan, Director – Intel South Asia, Intel Technology India Pvt.Ltd. The session was moderated by Ankit. V from CNBC TV-18.

The state Health and Family Welfare Department has decided to tie up with the most renowned and efficient national and international institutes and NGOs for knowledge-sharing in the healthcare sector. Handicap International, Otto Bock Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, Handcare Foundation-New Delhi, Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayata Samiti - Jaipur, Ishwar Institute of Prosthetics & Orthotics - Delhi, Proactive Technical Orthopedics - Pune are some of the well known international and national organizations working in the field of rehabilitation and manufacturing of artificial limbs etc. These institutes have tied up with the Gujarat Physiotherapy College and the Government Spine Institute at the Civil Hospital Ahmedabad for identifying disability at an early stage and provide preventative as well as rehabilitative services to patients.

Emory School of Medicine, USA has shown a keen interest and has tied up for clinical rotation of ophthalmology of their institute at M&J institute of Ophthalmology. The Society for Oral Laser Applications and Prudent Academy has tied up with the Government Dental College, Ahmedabad for the development of a Laser Application and Implantology department. The George Washington University, University of South Florida, University of Utah, State University of New York, Dutch School of Gynecology, Oncology and Pelvic Surgery - Netherlands, University of New Mexico, Department of Epidemiology and Bio statistics (University Hospitals of Leicester), the Inclen Trust International, Philadelphia, the Sickle Cell Disease International Organization are other names of global repute who have tied up with Medical Colleges at Bhavnagar, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot and Jamnagar to work together in various fields for the departmental development and conducting joint research studies to enrich and strengthen the medical education and healthcare set-up in the state.

“Ten years from now we can expect a radical change” said Health and Family Welfare Minister of Gujarat, Shri Jay Narayan Vyas while delivering his special address on health, medical services and medical education scenario of Gujarat. He further added, "The pace at which this change is coming might make some of today's strategies for improvements in public health obsolete. While investment in infrastructure is important to keep up with this pace of growth, we can't ignore the enormous need for skilled and specialized manpower. That's why one of our biggest goals for Gujarat is to improve quality and access to medical education in the state."

Besides discussing the importance of HDI in evaluating a country’s socio-economic position and seeking to link it to the concept of inclusive growth, the panel discussed ways to alter low rates of the survival of young persons, underweight children, high rates of infant mortality and maternal mortality. Health education efforts are seen as an intrinsic element of addressing these issues. In this context, the Gujarat Government’s Health Education Bureau has played a crucial role by organizing health exhibitions and cultural programmes including audio-visual displays. Various school health programmes are carried out to promote a healthy lifestyle as well as to prevent and treat different ailments found among school children.

Furthermore, the panel discussed a number of concerns including strategies for the improvement of overall public health as well as those required for improving longevity, such as the role of local authorities and capacity-building as well as the expansion of medical services in other related fields through the public-private partnership model.

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