NEW DELHI: Australia today announced extension of the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) for a further four years and also pledged Australian dollars (AUD) 20 million for the initiative.
“This is not just for India or Australia, but for everyone’s benefit. That is why I am pleased to announce that over the next four years, AUD 20 million would be allocated by the Australian government for this partnership programme,” visiting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said here.
“We are cooperating in health and also elsewhere. For instance, there is a potential malaria vaccine which has been supported by the strategic research partnership. We have water quality improvement which is being supported by the programme,” he added.
He was speaking at AIIMS, where he had gone to see the research activities at the trauma centre being carried out in collaboration with the Australians.
Beginning in 2013, the Australian and Indian governments have joined hands through the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund Grand Challenge Scheme to find the best ways of treating injured people.
The Australia-India Trauma Systems Collaboration (AITSC) programme also brings together governments, industry, clinicians and researchers to improve information and resources and to pilot new systems of care. The collaboration is being carried out between Alfred Hospital in Melbourne and AIIMS.
Abbott noted that Australia would work with India not as an aid-giver but as a partner and added that the collaboration between AIIMS and Alfred Hospital was significant as both countries could learn from each other.
“I pledge that Australia would continue to work with you not as an aid-giver but as a partnership seeker,” he said.
“This partnership between Alfred Hospital and AIIMS is significant as part of our Science and Technology Strategic Research Partnership Programme. Alfred Trauma Centre is now looking to work with India’s premier trauma centre,” he said.
Abbott said there is a feeling of altruism in the two countries and both are strongly committed to the health sector.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the Indian government was working to ensure access to healthcare for the poorest of the poor. He added that such bilateral projects would help improve healthcare systems in both countries.
Jitendra Singh, , who was also present at the event said that collaboration in the field of trauma treatment was very important as India had a large and increasing young population.
Mortality among the younger population was due to road accidents and other “adventures and misadventures” and the joint initiative would certainly help bring down such deaths, he added.