Sunday, March 1, 2009

India in Africa medical link-up

By Sunil Rahman

BBC News, Delhi

India has launched a hi-tech project it says will provide medical education and better health care in Africa.

Launched by Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Delhi, the project will at first connect 11 African countries with India.

The services will include virtual classes for medical staff and online medical consultations.

India is highly conscious of China's involvement in Africa and has announced a number of joint projects.

Mr Mukherjee described the project as bridging the digital divide between India and Africa.

Patients in parts of rural Africa will soon be able to seek medical advice from Indian doctors via satellite and fibre-optic link-ups.

Nurses will get training and virtual classrooms will help around 10,000 African students annually get specialised degrees from universities.

Online medical consultations will be provided every day for one hour to isolated hospitals.

To start with, 11 African countries including Ethiopia, Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana will be connected with India.

By June eight more countries will be covered and eventually the offices of 53 African heads of state will be linked.

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