Need for collaborative teaching programmes in health care technology: Vardhan

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Thiruvananthapuram, June 23 (PTI): Union Minister for Science and Technology, Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said increased use of technology in health care should necessarily be accompanied by increased manpower.

There should be collaborative teaching programmes with faculty from both medical and engineering institutions for manpower generation and skill development in health care technology, he said. The combination of scientific, medical and technology community trio should be institutionalised all over the country for better results, Vardhan said after launching four major projects at the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) here.

SCTIMST is an Institute of national Importance under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The minister said there has to be a mechanism where an engineer goes to a medical college and a technician goes to a scientific lab and a scientist also goes to a clinician’s clinic.

“Increased use of technology in health care should necessarily be accompanied by increased manpower to operate and manage the devices and equipment, and to ensure optimal and safe use of technology,” Vardhan said.

“It is essential to assess, through an evidence-based approach, whether a particular technology can impact disease management, prevention strategies and policy decisions,” he said. This is possible through health technology assessment studies, the minister added.

Lauding the contributions of SCTIMST in the health care sector, he said institutions like Sree Chitra should be aligned towards “Make in India for Healthy India”.

Pointing to the need to develop the medical devices sector, the minister said manufacturing and trade in medical devices was growing steadily and the health care industry was poised for a great leap in the near future.

However, Indian industries at present meet only about a small fraction of the total demand, he said.  Institutions in the public and private sectors and industry should undertake “need-based” Research and Development (R&D) in medical devices and instrumentation. “It should be affordable and based on local need.

Necessarily, large-scale production and commercialisation of indigenised medical equipment is required so that citizens even in remote areas get benefited,” the minister said. Pointing out that the country had made great strides in the field of science and technology in the last three-four years, Vardhan said funding for scientific research has tripled during the period.

Earlier, Harsh Vardhan launched the construction of the ‘Swasthya Suraksha Block’ under the Pradhan MantriSwasthya Suraksha Yojana at the SCTIMST campus. He also inaugurated the development of the Combinational Devices Block and Regional Technical Resource Centre for Health Technology Assessment and the Data Centre.

According to SCTIMST authorities, the construction of the Swasthya Suraksha block and installation and commissioning of medical equipment, together costing Rs 300 crore, is expected to be completed by June 2020.

With this expansion, SCTIMST expects to serve an additional 10,000 in-patients, 15,000 out-patients and 1,05,000 review out-patient cases a year, they said. The SCTIMST focuses on high quality, advanced treatment of cardiac and neurological disorders, indigenous development of technologies for biomedical devices and materials and public health training and research.

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