Overseas Indian doctors ready to help India

By Prashant Sood, IANS,

New Delhi : Around 300,000 doctors of Indian origin are working abroad and they are willing to help the Indian government in a variety of ways, a leading Britain-based doctor said.

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“Indian doctors abroad are keen to work in a variety of ways, including voluntary work, support in collaborative research and medical education,” Doctor Ramesh Mehta, secretary general of the Global Association of Physicians of Indian origin (GAPIO), told IANS.

Mehta, who is also president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), said: “There is hardly any country in the world where Indian doctors are not working. We want to coordinate their efforts to make it more beneficial to India by identifying their area of interest and matching it with the needs of the country.”

Mehta is in New Delhi to take part in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the annual convention of people of Indian origin all over the world.

According to him, over 40,000 doctors of Indian origin were working in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), a publicly funded healthcare system.

“Approximately 10,000 doctors are retired or retiring and 15,000 doctors are in training and they are looking for opportunities in India. There is scope for a reverse brain drain,” Mehta said.

He said there is great scope of research for cheap drugs to tackle problems of infections and diseases like diabetes in India.

“The collaboration can be done with the pharmaceutical industry in India. Many Indian doctors abroad are working in the field of research and teaching,” he added.

Mehta said that his earlier efforts to form tie-ups in research and education did not work due to “bureaucratic obstacles.”

“Things are happening but not in the way they should… It takes time to get any work done. There is the question of recognition of foreign qualifications which has not been sorted out by the Indian Medical Council and the government. Simple things take so long,” he said.

Suggesting an NHS-like health care system for India, Mehta said the government should invest in public health as the burden of disease causes loss of productivity.

“The state has to play a bigger role because of the poor economic condition of a majority of the population,” he said.

(Prashant Sood can be contacted at [email protected])