Policy Matter

The First WHO Collaborating Centre in South East Asia Region

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World Health Organization (WHO) Country office for India in WHO-new1collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), formally announced the commencement of National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy, on 20th March 2015. This is the first WHO Collaborating Centre in South East Asia Region. The event was inaugurated by Shri B P Sharma, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India. Dr Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India, handed over the designation of WHO Collaborating Centre commencement at NHSRC to the Health Secretary.

On the occasion, the Health Secretary stated that “Prioritizing medical devices and health technology in the country is an important agenda item. It is critical to have the specifications in place for the medical devices and equipments that are already procured and used in the system. There is also need for dedicated medical devices testing laboratories to ensure the safety and efficacy of these devices”.

Dr. Nata Menabde congratulated the healthcare technology team of NHSRC on being designated as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices, the first center in South East Asia. “There is a need for appropriate and applicable health care technology in India. Our medical devices industry is underinvested and heavily import driven at present, but with the current “Make in India” campaign, there is a huge opportunity for growth and expansion of the medical device industry. This would highly improve the access of essential medical devices and healthcare technology to patients in India”, she said.

The Division of Healthcare Technology & Innovation at NHSRC has been working in the area of health technologies and related policy interface. The scope of its work includes: framing of technical specifications for technologies procured under National Health Mission; best practices for technology life cycle management and maintenance; secretariat for assessment and uptake of innovations into public health systems; health technology systems research such as proposing roadmap for establishing testing laboratories; supporting the Health Ministry on issues related to free essential diagnostics and other technology intensive services; domestic manufacturing capacity, quality and safety criteria for healthcare technologies; and conducting health technology assessments.

The Division of Healthcare Technologies & Innovations, NHSRC now becoming the ‘WHO Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy’, would further strengthen the technical association with WHO, for greater reach, acceptability and use of critical knowledge amongst public health partners, and foster advancement of health goals in India as well as mission of the World Health Organization.

Present at the occasion were senior officials of the Health Ministry including Shri C K Mishra, Additional Secretary and Mission Director (National Health Mission); Shri Manoj Jhalani, Joint Secretary (Policy); Shri K L Sharma, Joint Secretary (Regulations); Shri Nagesh Prabhu, Joint Secretary (Department of Health Research); Ms Adriana Velasquez, Senior Advisor, Medical Devices, WHO HQ, Geneva and Dr Madhur Gupta, Technical Officer- Pharmaceuticals, WHO India.

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