Eric Hoskins, Health Minister of Ontario
Eric Hoskins, Health Minister of Ontario

Dr. Eric Hoskins, who is the health minister of Ontario province and who has travelled to India several times during the days he was practicing medicine, believes the large Indo-Canadian community makes it easier for the two countries to collaborate in healthcare and other fields.

After his keynote address at the two-day Canada-India Healthcare Summit (May 19-20) at Toronto Omni King Edward Hotel, Hoskins told The Indian Diaspora that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wayne “is committed to strengthening collaborations between India and Ontario as in healthcare there are so many opportunities – from pharmaceuticals to information technology to data to medical devices to water and waste water.

“I know there’s tremendous expertise in waste water in India that we could benefit from India,” he said. “What’s needed is a deliberate effort on the parts of the governments and the private sectors to come together and find those opportunities and support them.”

“So, I am very much looking forward to what comes out of these two days of deliberations and I think they will point us the direction in which we should be going.”

“There are substantional efforts already whether at the level of the federal government and India or Ontario government and India. I think we need to identify what those specific opportunities are and seize them and support them.”

“In a few days we will have our report ready that will detail our findings and recommendations as to how the two countries can collaborate in the healthcare field and the report will be presented at the federal and provincial levels here in Canada and also to the Indian government,” explained Dr. V.I. Lakshmanan, who co-chaired the Summit and was the main person behind organizing the conference by Canada-India Foundation, of which he’s currently the national chair.

“There were presentations from private and public institutions both from Canada as well as from India,” Lakshmanan told The Indian Diaspora.

He alluded to the fact that a large number of healthcare providers came from India and they included people at senior levels from the government, from the private sector, especially from institutions like the Apollo Hospital and Hinduja Hospitals. Four federal and provincial ministers spoke at the Summit.

“We gave them the platform to interact and we know some people have already started discussing what opportunities there are for developing relationships and that in itself is very helpful and already producing some results,” Lakshmanan said.

He was delighted that major hospitals in India and Canada have started discussions.

Dr. Arun Garg, Medical Director of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at British Columbia’s Fraser Health Authority, who was amongst the participants and has himself organized Canada-India conferences for collaboration in the healthcare field, said “at this stage we in both countries have to have some substantial projects for collaborations.”

Garg said he has “found Indians are eager in working in innovations. We have to really look at how some technology in some specific fields where Indian innovation can be applied on the Canadian scene.

“Eye surgery is part of India’s innovation in order to create much cheaper way of healthcare,” Garg noted. “The other area we really have to look from here is quality in management of healthcare as Canada has done very well in this field.”

He spoke about his own organization’s ‘CINI 2010’ conference on cardiovascular theme that was attended by nearly 200 leaders from industry, academia, government and the health sector.

“We are exploring through our efforts in Canada and India network about leadership in healthcare management, leadership in delivering healthcare as there’s a real need to enhance the delivery aspect of Indian doctors.”

“We are exploring that through educational institutions in India, to see if they could incorporate some of the leadership and quality management in the Indian scene,” explained Garg.

Smoking has almost disappeared from the Canadian scene. “India could learn from here as to how you make that behavior change. That’s where we have to focus," he said. .

“I would suggest all in all, take one or two projects and really work collectively,” suggested Garg.?

(Ajit Jain is Canada Editor of the Indian Diaspora. He can be reached at ajit.jain0410@gmail.com)

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