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South and Central Asia: U.S.-India Bilateral Cooperation on Public Health and Research

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 13, 2012

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The United States and India continue to expand public health and biomedical research and programming, building upon more than fifty years of bilateral cooperation in the health sector. A number of recent developments highlight the positive momentum in health-related collaboration:

  • U.S.-India Health Initiative: Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius travelled to India in January 2012 to meet with Minister of Health and Family Welfare Azad to strengthen collaboration on health systems, biomedical research, and food and drug safety. The Secretary’s visit supported the growing U.S.-India Health Initiative that was launched in 2010 to provide an organizing structure for bilateral discussions between the United States and India on health collaboration and program implementation. The Health Initiative consists of four high-level working groups: Maternal and Child Health; Infectious Diseases; Noncommunicable Diseases; and Strengthening Health Systems and Services.
  • Polio Eradication: During her recent visit, HHS Secretary Sebelius recognized India’s tremendous achievement in its elimination of polio. India in January marked one year since its last-recorded polio case. Since 1999, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided direct technical support and more than $114 million to India for polio eradication and other activities, with USAID providing an additional $77.5 million since 1996.
  • Global Disease Detection (GDD) Program: The United States and India are working to strengthen detection and response to emerging disease threats through the Global Disease Detection India Center (GDDIC), which was launched within the National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi in 2010. The GDDIC’s activities include establishing an India Epidemic Intelligence Service program, supporting emerging disease surveillance and outbreak response, pandemic influenza preparedness and response, laboratory systems and biosafety, health communications, and zoonotic disease investigation and control. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh first announced plans to establish the GDDIC as a regional center in 2009. Other GDD regional centers are located in Kenya, Thailand, Guatemala, Egypt, China, and South Africa. GDD also has regional centers under development in Bangladesh, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.
  • Stanford-India Biodesign (SIB) Initiative: Established in 2007 between Stanford University, the Indian Government’s Department of Biotechnology, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, this partnership seeks to build a cadre of biomedical technology innovators, who will build India’s emerging medical technology sector in academia and industry while training subsequent fellows and students. The SIB initiative includes a two-year fellowship program and the creation of related training centers in India to promote academic excellence.
  • Medical Research: The United States and India are working to promote bilateral innovation and discovery in biomedical and behavioral research. The United States and India support productive bilateral research collaborations in areas considered a priority for both sides, including maternal and child health, neuroscience, HIV/AIDS, and eye disease. The collaboration in vaccine research known as the “Vaccine Action Program” will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2012. New areas of collaborative research are being considered between the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Government of India in the area of stem cell and regenerative medicine research.
  • Diabetes Research: On June 12 Secretary Sebelius and Minister Azad signed a Joint Statement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India on collaboration on diabetes research. Recognizing the important benefits in reduction and prevention of diabetes, the Joint Statement initiates a research relationship between the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Indian Council of Medical Research to better understand the mechanisms underlying diabetes, and to identify innovative approaches for the prevention and treatment of the disease.
  • Disease Management: The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program collaborates with the National AIDS Control Organization on preventing new infections, and increasing access to care, support, and treatment services for persons living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to strategic information, lab strengthening and health systems strengthening, this year, the United States and India are poised to announce an HIV/AIDS Partnership: Impact through Prevention, Private Sector and Evidence-Based Programming, a project that builds upon existing HIV/AIDS prevention collaboration in the private sector while also engaging the private sector to support innovations that enable national and state-level institutions to respond more effectively to HIV/AIDS throughout the prevention-to-care continuum.
  • Child Survival Call to Action: The United States and India are proud to co-convene the Call to Action June 14-15 in Washington, DC, which will serve to launch the global movement A Promise to Keep. Through better accountability and targeted investments in effective, life-saving interventions for children over the next two decades, A Promise to Keep will reenergize the global movement to end preventable child deaths. Minister of Health and Family Welfare Azad will join Secretary Clinton and other global leaders at the Call to Action and demonstrate India’s commitment to leadership on this global priority, extending toward ambitious targets in 2035.

PRN: 2012/968