India-UAE recognise there is wealth in health
With health authorities in the UAE keen to collaborate with global institutions for knowledge-transfer and high-quality care to patients, India has emerged as one of the top contenders thanks to its deep-rooted relations, the coronavirus and the ensuing synergy in the medical sector. This has the ingredients for a blossoming strategic partnership between the two countries.
When a 105-member medical team from India, including critical care nurses, doctors and paramedics, arrived in the United Arab Emirates on a mission to treat Covid-19 patients earlier this summer, it was the beginning of a closely intertwined partnership among the two countries in their collective battle against the virus.
The medical team members spread out to the critical care units of various Covid-19 hospitals in the UAE, and dozens of compatriots soon joined them in various batches, bringing the legendary healing touch of Indian nurses and paramedics to patients battling the pandemic in the Gulf state.
Rewarding longstanding ties
Closely coordinated by the Indian missions in the UAE, the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, private healthcare entities and the respective ministries of health, the initiative reflected, in the words of Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Pavan Kapoor, an “excellent example of how our strategic partnership with the UAE is being implemented on the ground” in the area of healthcare. “We have always emphasised the strength of collective effort in fighting this pandemic. India and the UAE are now showing how helpful this can be in practice. This has been possible due to the long-standing and robust ties shared between our nations,” Kapoor said at the time.
The UAE swiftly reciprocated by sending a special aircraft with seven metric tons of medical supplies to help India deal with the pandemic - a consignment that has come to the aid of approximately 7,000 medical professionals as they work to combat the virus across the country.
For India and the UAE, who elevated their decades-old people-to-people relations to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two governments in 2017, Covid-19 has triggered several opportunities to further cement those ties - and an interaction between the Indian Consulate in Dubai and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is the most recent proof of that.
Dr. Aman Puri focuses on knowledge transfer
In a wide-ranging discussion between Indian Consul General Dr Aman Puri and DHA Director-General Humaid Al Qutami, the two sides dwelled upon knowledge transfer, exchange of best practices and opportunities for collaboration in all aspects of healthcare delivery particularly between the DHA and National Health Authority of India in the backdrop of Covid-19.
In his previous assignment prior to moving to the UAE, Dr. Puri was the Consul General of India in Birmingham. He was a central figure in fostering medical and healthcare ties between India and the UK. A young and dynamic diplomat of the highest calibre one of Dr. Puri's strengths is his ability to connect with people from all walks of life and assist them. It was this intrinsic quality that resulted in him bullding up quite a fan following in the UK.
“The way the UAE authorities have managed the pandemic is truly an example for the rest of the world. COVID-19 has brought healthcare centre stage and it is important for health systems around the world to build partnerships. UAE and India are strategic partners and it is important for them to continue to build a strong partnership in the field of health-care,” Dr Puri said in recent comments - reflecting the long-standing relationship between the two countries in several fields, among which the health sector has come under increasing focus.
More to read:
With the DHA keen to collaborate with global health institutions to foster knowledge-transfer and provide high-quality care to patients, India has emerged as one of the top contenders to fill in that gap in service delivery and expertise.
In December 2019, Al Qutami visited India heading a DHA delegation and visited several top healthcare hospitals and institutions to explore collaborative opportunities in the sector.
A robust market in India
Internally, the Indian healthcare market remains robust and attractive for foreign investors - by 2022, the Indian medical diagnostics market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20.4% to reach $32 billion from $5 billion in 2012, while the telemedicine market is expected to grow at more than 20% to cross $35 million. This has further been bolstered by 100% FDI being allowed under the automatic route for greenfield projects, while for investments in brownfield projects, up to 100% FDI is permitted under the government route.
Still more to read:
Overall, healthcare remains one of largest sectors both in terms of employment and revenue in India, offering lucrative investment options in hospitals, medical devices, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment. As the world's largest producer of generic medicines and contributing more than 20% by value to the global generics drug market, India is dubbed the pharmacy of the world.
Quality of Indian healthcare is unmatched
With India boasting some of Asia's top hospitals and the finest specialist doctors, it's no wonder that countries like the UAE are seeking sustained collaboration in specific areas such as organ transplant, oncology, cardiology, mental health, medical research, innovation and geriatric care. “The aim of our visit and the continuation of dialogue are in line with our vision to collaborate with leading institutions in the world in the health sector to provide high-quality care to our patients and visitors,” Al Qutami said during the visit. “We are keen to share experiences and expertise with the aim to further bolster the health sector in Dubai and provide world-class patient-centred care. DHA has always been keen to further bolster the relationship between India and the UAE,” he said.