India and the US today signed a series of agreements on health, seeking to enhance cooperation in areas such as cancer research, infrastructure development, training, capacity building and better assessment and application of new diagnostic technologies.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cancer Research and a Letter of Intent on Anti-microbial Resistance Research were signed by Secretary Health, B P Sharma, Secretary Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, K Vijay Raghavan, and US Ambassador to India Richard Verma, according to senior official of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry.
The agreement on cancer research, prevention, control and management was signed among the NCRI (AIIMS), ICMR (DHS), the Department of Biotechnology, (MoST), NCI (NIH) and the US’ Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the official said.
Sharma and Verma also signed an MoU on collaboration in environmental and occupational health and injury prevention and control.
The official said the collaboration will be in the areas for conducting research and training on development of low-cost technologies, diagnostics of existing medications against common cancers and development of existing therapies related to oncology.
“The MoU will focus on cancer research, projects on population-based cancer control and implementation science, projects in epidemiological research, pre-clinical model development, clinical research, oncology care delivery, E-health and M-health,” the official said.
Another agreement was signed between the CDC, DHHS (USA) and the ICMR (DHR) on collaboration in environmental and occupational health and injury prevention and control.
“It aims to further the cooperation in the fields of environmental and occupational health and injury prevention and control research, education and training, infrastructure development, and capacity-building for their reciprocal and mutual benefit,” the official said.
The cooperation under the MoU will cover areas including prevention of illness related to toxic chemicals and hazardous substances, development and use of improved tools, technologies and methods for enhancing environmental and occupational public health, and injury prevention efforts, including surveillance.
The agreement will also focus on public health effects of ambient and indoor air pollution including a focus on exposures associated with burning of solid fuels for cooking and heating, prevention of illness and injury related to hazards at the workplace and related research, planning, preparedness, and response for chemical releases and radiation events.
The second Letter of Intent (LoI) on anti-microbial resistance research was signed between the ICMR, Department of Biotechnology (MoST) and US’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health and DHHS.
“It aims to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in anti-microbial resistance research to include mechanism of antimicrobial resistance, application of systems biology, comparative testing and assisting the validation of new diagnostics and explore possible patterns of AMR in neonatal intensive care units as observed in India and the US,” the official said.