UK Government has announced a new aid package of Rs 2000 crore for the next five years to support the health sector reform in India

Indo-British collaborations on the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors are going to witness a spurt in the next few years with a number of joint ventures already lined up and many more slated to be signed soon. Besides, the UK Government has announced a new aid package of Rs 2000 crore for the next five years to support the health sector reforms.

Taking ahead the initiates launched during the visit of a UK high-level delegation of companies as part of a Healthcare Mission in January this year to India, some have already signed agreements while many others are in advanced stages of negotiations.

The Health Protection Agency, UK, has signed a royalty-bearing license with the Serum Institute of India to develop a pentavalent vaccine for India and developing countries for bacterial meningococcal disease, sources in the Health Ministry said.

Practical Business Solutions from Britain entered into an MoU with ZWA Technology, Mumbai to deliver an emergency medical services programme in India while the UK Royal College of Physicians has delivered a pilot course to a private sector hospital in Kerala.

British companies that are pursuing discussion with their Indian counterparts include the University of York, Eschmann Holdings, Tenscare and Smiths Medical International. A number of joint ventures are thus slated to be firmed up in the coming months itself, sources said.

Besides, the British Government has promised a package of Rs 2000 crore as aid to improve the country's health programmes and access to healthcare for the poor, especially in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.

The Andhra Pradesh Health Sector Reform Programme will get Rs 320 crore. The grant will be utilized by June 2010. A part of the aid would go for technical cooperation also. Orissa will get Rs 400 crore as direct budget support for the implementation of Orissa Health Sector Plan and technical cooperation. The project will be approved soon, sources said.

Rs 480 crore would be given to Madhya Pradesh for the Health Sector Reform Programme, which is currently evaluated for approval. About Rs 816 crore has already been offered by the UK Government for the third phase of National AIDS Control Programme. The package was announced to prevent new infections in high risk groups and the general population; and to extend increased care support and treatment of people living with HIV under the third phase.