India will innovate the Healthcare sector

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Professor Balram Bhargava, Cardiologist, All India Institute of Medical Sciences talks to Diptiman Dewan on how India is poised to become the global leader in affordable innovations in healthcare, and why collaborations are the order of the day


How is India poised to lead in the affordable innovations in medical sciences? Any examples to illustrate this?

The Indian mindset is frugal and the innovations done are also frugal. The major concern is to ensure quality and reliability. Once this happens then the battle is won. Some of the classical examples are the Indian Coronary stents and Intraocular lens implants developed in India and being utilised in several countries abroad

How important is the interdisciplinary collaboration between doctors, engineers, designers and entrepreneurs, and towards what end?

The interdisciplinary approach in my mind is a suitable one in view of the fact that the doctors have the ideas; but do not think it is an idea and do not have the engineers/designers to help execute the solutions to these ideas (unmet clinical needs). Further, the engineers and designers have not been contributing on the medical device sector and feel that if they contribute, they can make a difference to the society in India.

What is the Centre for Excellence for Stem Cell Studies all about?

The COE for stem cell studies at AIIMS is working with several departments on basic sciences as well as applied clinical research in different areas. About 20 publications have emerged from these endeavours and a couple of large multicentric trials have been completed and will be published in the near future. This centre is at AIIMS and is supported by the DBT, MoST India.

What role do you foresee Western countries/companies taking in the innovation centres that you foresee that will develop in East (India, China), etc? How will it benefit the East/Eastern economies?

I personally think the western countries have to gradually accept frugal innovations in healthcare albeit ensure the quality and reliability. These innovations will be a win-win situation for both the East and the West

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