Kerala battle-ready in ‘era of viral diseases’: Minister

Kerala battle-ready in ‘era of viral diseases’: Minister

Health Minister Veena George inaugurates HealthTech Summit 2022 at Kochi on June 24 (Friday). From left, KSUM CEO John M. Thomas, Health and Family Welfare Principal Secretary Rajan M. Khobragade, State Digital Health Mission Director K. Mohammed Y. Safarulla, Caritas Hospital and Educational Institutions Director Fr Binu Kunnath and India Accelerator Managing Partner Deepak Nagpal.

Kochi, June 24: Kerala is accelerating medical technologies by promoting fundamental research to update the state’s delivery of public services amid a “sustained era of viral diseases”, Health Minister Smt Veena George said on Friday.

The government is implementing steps that ensure prompt action to counter any kind of healthcare exigencies by ensuring sufficient availability of quality professionals, she said after inaugurating the pioneering ‘Health Tech Summit 2022’ envisaged as a common platform for a whole range of stakeholders in the sector.

“We are a state that carried out Covid-19 control measures even before the WHO announced protocols around the global pandemic. For this, our experience in countering the Nipah virus (that broke out in mid-2018) was of enormous help,” the Minister recalled after inaugurating the event. “More virus attacks may come. We are set to face them.”

The Health Department envisions sustainable development to tackle future challenges, Smt George noted at the opening session of the day-long conclave, where experts from across the country deliberated on the latest trends and innovations in health technology.

Being Organised by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in association with Kerala’s Ministry of Health and Caritas Hospital, the summit at Le Meridian featured 35 speakers and aimed to capitalise the prospects of the state’s status as a frontrunner in wellness. The other partners are IT Kerala, State Family Welfare Department, eHealth Kerala and technology business incubator TIMed.

Outgoing Health and Family Welfare Department Principal Secretary Shri Rajan N. Khobragade, addressing the gathering, said KFON (Kerala fibre optic network) has been enabling radical advancements in the digitisation of the state’s health sector. “Healthtech startups must make full use of the favourable conditions,” he added.

State Digital Health Mission Director Shri K. Mohammed Y. Safarulla, briefing about five pillars which support the endeavour to keep the health record of every citizen, spoke about the importance of algorithms and analytics in the sector. “These help us take the technologies to the next level,” the official noted in his special address.

India Accelerator Managing Partner Shri Deepak Nagpal said his five-year-old organisation is poised to partner with IT Kerala to launch H-Catalayst as a programme that promotes technology for better healthcare by involving 15 startups. “Also, we will be providing mentorship to the doctors and other healthcare experts in the partnership,” he revealed.

Caritas Hospital and Educational Institutions Director Fr Dr Binu Kunnath, earlier welcoming the gathering, highlighted the need for technological leaps for a complete solution to all diseases around the world. “What we need is comprehensive healthcare,” Fr Dr Binu Kunnath said on the occasion.

KSUM Chief Executive Officer Shri John M. Thomas, proposing thanks, said technology-assisted intervention can herald a new revolution in Kerala’s healthcare.

HealthTech Summit 2022 which aims to capitalise on the prospects of Kerala’s status as a frontrunner in wellness, has been held at a time when health tech is the country’s fastest-growing startup sector after fintech. 

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