India, Netherlands to strengthen health cooperation
India and Netherlands have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
On the invitation of Netherlands Health, Sports and Welfare Minister Edith Schippers, Indian Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad visited Netherlands on Oct 3 and 4.
During his two day visit, Azad attended the Ministerial Meeting on the Responsible Use of Medicines and Anti-Microbial Resistance at Amsterdam on Oct 3 and held a bilateral meeting with Schippers at The Hague on Oct 4.
Addressing the Ministerial Conference on Oct 3, Azad said responsible and rational use of medicines is an important part of the national health policy in India.
He said that due to high out of pocket expenditure on health, of which a larger part is on medicines, it is vitally important that drugs are prescribed rationally.
He highlighted the need to look at adherence to Standard Treatment Guidelines, curbing unethical promotion of medicines by the drug manufacturers, better regulatory control over prescriptions and dispensing of medicines and to make the consumer aware the hazards of self medication.
Azad said several steps have been taken by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare towards universalization of health care in its endeavour to make health care services accessible, affordable and equitable, such as Free Maternal Health Services, Free Child Health Services, Free Immunization, Adolescent Health Services, Family Planning Services, NCDS and JSSK.
Shri Azad said the Government of India proposes to further expand the Initiative for Universal Health Coverage by taking up Free Supply of Essential Medicines in Public Health Facilities in the country.
This step, he said, is aimed at providing affordable health care to the people by reducing out of pocket expenses on medicines.
Besides, Universal Health Coverage will also promote rational use of medicines and reduce the consumption of inessential medicines, he said.
During the discussions on the issue of anti-microbial resistance, Azad pointed out that this is an area of serious concern the world over.
He stated that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has developed the National Policy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance to tackle the issue of antimicrobial resistance and promote rational and responsible use of antibiotics in India.
Following the Ministerial Meeting, a bilateral meeting was held between Azad and Schippers on Oct 4 in the Ministry of Health, Sports and Welfare at The Hague, Netherlands.
During the bilateral meeting several matters of mutual interest and benefit were discussed.
Azad and Schippers agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation through signing of a broad based Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two governments in the field of health and medicine for mutual benefit as well as a sectoral MoU between the respective food regulatory authorities to formalize cooperation in the important area of food safety.