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NRI docs to help better healthcare in India

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) will be launching two pilot projects in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh in July.

india Updated: May 31, 2006 04:15 IST

Taking forward their commitment to help India improve healthcare in rural areas, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) will be launching two pilot projects in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh in July.

Instead of focusing only on improvement of primary healthcare as committed under a memorandum of understanding signed on January 7 during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas - the annual conclave of the Indian diaspora - with the government, AAPI has decided to expand the scope of its work to help in early detection of diseases that are major killers in the country.

"We have selected six specific areas - carcinoma of cervix, carcinoma of prostate, heart diseases, diabetes, deafness at birth and emergency medical system (EMS)," Hemant Patel, vice president of AAPI said on Tuesday.

The expansion of the programme and selection of Bihar and Andhra Pradesh for launching the pilot projects was done during the two-day core group meeting that concluded here Tuesday.

To be monitored by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, "the protocol, the parameters and training programme to be undertaken would be finalised during the AAPI silver jubilee seminar being held in Atlanta from June 20-July 7 to which we have invited representative from the ministries and the two states," said Vijay Koli, president of AAPI.

During the meeting, the core group will spread the message across AAPI members, numbering over 45,000, and select those who would be helping to train young doctors and medical students and set in place the protocol of screening of people in the two partner states.

"While five or six people will be contact persons, we are going to look for a team of people to provide these services," said Koli.

The pilot projects will see all people in a village each in 38 districts of Bihar and 23 in Andhra Pradesh being screened for some of the major life threatening problems which if detected early can be treated, said S Balasubramaniam, who has been piloting a very successful EMS programme in Pune for the last four years.

He pointed out that the EMS programme is able to save lives or prevent major disabilities in over 40 per cent cases through timely intervention of paramedics who are trained to provide emergency care before expert help can be provided in the hospital.

"Several Indian American doctors have been individually helping to improve healthcare and provide specialised treatment in India, but for the first time we are planning to collectively help the government to improve the facilities, in two states initially," said Balasubramaniam.

Admitting that the projects would be a challenge, the specialists expressed keenness to help improve the healthcare system in their homeland.

IV Subba Rao, principal secretary (health) of Andhra Pradesh, said the pilot project would be twined with the hospitals and medical colleges in the state to improve facilities in both urban and rural areas.

The progress of the pilot project will be reviewed after a year and AAPI members are hopeful of extending the partnership project to one more state every year.