Indian Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari announced during a three day visit to Uganda a pledge to provide $3 million USD of aid to help bolster health services in the country. Of the three million total, two million will be formed of medications and medical provisions, the other one million will provide medical devices.
This follows shortly after large scale cooperations between India and Kenya, in which medical tourism from Kenya, alongside a number of African nations, inspired the investment of Indian money into medical facilities within Kenya.
This arrangement has the potential for mutual benefit, with Indian expertise in medical treatment as well as the initial setup costs of equipment and facilities provided to Kenya by India. India seeks to gain long term financial success by providing services otherwise obtained through medical tourism to India, directly within Kenya.
“India has been a source of affordable pharmaceuticals and specialised healthcare for people of Africa. Several Indian hospitals have developed facilities to serve medical cases referred to them from Africa, including from Uganda. Many of them have also shown interest in setting up integrated healthcare facilities in Uganda, providing high quality medical and nursing services across a wide range of specialties,” noted Ansari.
There are a number of similarities between the health systems of India and Uganda, the Vice President said. For example, mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria are a major issue in both nations. It is these similarities, coupled with a mutual need to drive down the cost of medications in both nations that may prove hugely beneficial to those struggling to afford healthcare in each nation.
The nature of the agreement is by no means a purely philanthropic endeavour though. Both nations stand to profit from this deal. India seeks to tap into the incomes of the growing middle class of African nations, the very same people who over the last few years have been travelling to India for medical treatments.
Uganda will be receiving a much needed boost to its health facilities. Also included within the arrangements are collaborations hoping to improve ICT development within the country. Uganda has expressed their intention to replicate a number of India’s ICT programmes, and hopes to develop its Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), a move that would likely further boost its economy.
India continues to make trade agreements and deals with regards to medical infrastructure in a number of African nations. The move has great potential. Cooperation between these countries could bring many benefits to each, potentially driving down the costs of medication both in India, and in Africa.