Australia on Friday announced the 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. Visiting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott made the announcement in Delhi after a visit to the Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre in AIIMS on Friday.
“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,” he said.
The two countries will also cooperate in the areas of a potential malaria vaccine which has been supported by the strategic research partnership. 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. “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,” Mr. Abbott said.
India and Australia will collaborate in the areas of preventive healthcare, trauma care, geriatric medicine, diabetes research and mental illnesses; this was decided at a meeting between Mr. Abbott and the Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan.
Referring to the discussion the Health Minister said the friendly relations that exist between India and Australia could materialise into manifold streams of cooperation in the health sector. Dr. Harsh Vardhan said there is a rich possibility in sharing India’s expertise as well as gaining from the Australian experience in the training of health care workers and nurses in geriatric care and emergency medicine and in telemedicine.
“I have shared with Mr Abbott the optimism evinced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the transformation of India’s health care system into a modern, affordable and accessible model before the developing world. Among other things, the Prime Minister has already cleared the opening of advanced secondary and tertiary health care institutions in every state of the country,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
The Australian PM appreciated the Pulse Polio movement which has eradicated polio from India. “There is a sense of altruism and commitment in the health care systems in both our countries,” he remarked. The Australian Prime Minister said that the existing Australia-India Trauma Systems Collaboration (AITSC) aims to reduce the burden of injury in both countries through development and piloting of improved systems of care.