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'Indian doctors abroad also needed at home'

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Jun 4: Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh has reminded ethnic Indian doctors serving abroad that they are also needed at home, the Ministry has reported from Saudi Arabia where he is on a visit.

''We also seek your part in the process of nation building back in India,'' Mr Singh said while launching an Indo-Saudi Medical Forum at a function in Jeddah Hilton on Friday, a Ministry statement said.

''Being fully aware of the very important role all of you are playing in promoting relations between our two countries, could I also express the hope that many of you will look to India for your further professional development,'' Mr Singh said.

A copy of his remarks was made available in New Delhi.

''In a country of our size, the need for trained doctors is undeniable and much as we would like you to strengthen the medical establishment in other countries and earn laurels for the quality of our educational system, we also seek your part in the process of nation building back in India.'' ''We in India are engaged in a major task of improving rural health care. The National Rural Health Mission has been recently launched to provide accessible, affordable, accountable, effective and reliable primary health care facilities, especially to the poor and vulnerable sections of the population.

''This is a huge task. At the same time, our Government, for several years now, has liberalised entry norms in the health care industry for private players. The health insurance market has been opened to private competition.'' Mr Singh told audience that the Indian government ''is committed to'' increasing public spending on health-- at least 2-3 per cent of India's Gross Domestic Product over the next five years.

Mr Singh called Indian nurses in the Gulf ''amongst our most successful ambassadors.'' He offered assistance in training nurses, if needed.

''We have the facility to train nurses in India and would be glad to extend assistance should it be required,'' the Indian Minister said.

He noted that the Forum is ''to provide a platform for interaction amongst'' Indian and Saudi medical men and women and promote links between Indian and Saudi medical institutions.

Mr Singh said the Forum would continue fostering exchanges between the two countries and voiced hope that it ''will also represent the interests of the nursing profession.'' The ceremony was attended by India's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia M O H Farook, the statement said.

Recalling historical ties between the two countries and the Delhi declaration signed during Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud's visit to India, he said the relationship was ''now being renewed in the modern world.'' He noted that more than 1.5 million Indians work in Saudi Arabia contributing to the growth of its infrastructure and building ''friendly ties and mutual interests.'' He said an area in which both nations see ''great potential is higher education.'' He called it ''a matter of pride that there are so many of you, products of medical colleges and universities in India, who are working in this country. I hope and trust that through your work in this country, you are bringing credit to yourself, to your institution and to your country.'' Mr Singh called health care ''another area of interaction.'' He said Indian hospitals were increasingly offering services to foreign patients, many of whom find them more affordable and viable. Indeed, Indian authorities have introduced a new category of 'medical visas'.

Mr Singh stressed ''serious interaction'' between Indian and Saudi medical professionals at teaching and research. He talked of ''strong links'' between the Indian Council of Medical Research and such agencies with Saudi counterparts.

On Saturday, Mr Singh visited King Abdul Aziz University at Jeddah, where he was received by its President Osama Sadek Tayab and Vice President Noor Fatani and Deans of various departments.

He saw a film about efforts to make it an 'electronic University.'


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