Austria to strengthen health ties with India

On completion of 60 years of Austria-India diplomatic relations,diplomats from Austria are on a two-day visit to Mumbai.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: March 14, 2009 3:24 am

On completion of 60 years of Austria-India diplomatic relations,diplomats from Austria are on a two-day visit to Mumbai.

Aiming to strengthen ties in the health sector,Soja Wehsely,executive city councillor for public health and social affairs,Vienna,will visit Nanavati Hospital in the city.

“We wanted to see one super specialty hospital with emphasis on cardiac care. We also wanted to observe how private and public set ups function simultaneously in one hospital,” said Wehsely adding,“In Austria and Vienna,the health system is not evidently divided between private and public setups. Whoever requires medical attention is admitted to a public hospital. It is only recently that private hospitals have started mushrooming and people are opting for it.”

Rating geriatric care as the topmost health issue,Wehsely suggested India could adapt the Austrian model called ‘big building programmes’,which involves building small homes for the elderly. “By 2015,the Austrian government is planning to build 10,000 houses for elderly. We would love to help the Indian government in setting up a similar township,” said Wehsely.

Wehsely also said,“In Vienna,all citizens are insured. It acts like a strong net and nobody can fall out of it. This helps take care of their medical expenses.”

Even though the health care needs of Austrians and Indians are different,there are certain areas where both the countries could work together,especially in dealing with lifestyle diseases. “Diabetes and breast cancer are big health problems in Vienna. Every year seven-and-a-half per cent more people are added to the diabetes population. It is growing equally fast in India.”

Wehsely is hopeful of exchange of knowhow relating to the running of primary and regional health centers between the two countries. India and Austria have a history of a strong bond over health care issues — both the countries had signed agreement on infrastructure cooperation in the health sector and a memorandum of understanding for development of cooperation between Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education,Chandigarh and Medical University of Innesbruck.

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