August 21, 2007

Singapore seeks Indian medicos

India could soon be the answer to Singapore's shortage of skilled medical experts. A 15-member delegation, consisting of India's top doctors and healthcare sector honchos, is leaving for Singapore on Monday.

The delegation, led by cardiac surgeon Naresh Trehan, will not only offer Indian help in filling up the shortage of neurosurgeons, cancer specialists, renal physicians and geriatricians in Singapore, but will also hard sell India's expertise is conducting clinical trials, diagnostic and pathology services, medical devises and tele-medicine.

A report prepared by CII on the eve of the visit said that Singapore aimed to serve a million foreign patients a year by 2012, generating $3 billion in revenues and creating at least 13,000 jobs.

"Singapore is potentially a huge market for Indian healthcare companies. We are very optimistic about the upcoming visit. We hope Singapore will provide us an opportunity to share our medical expertise," Trehan told TOI.

The trip follows the Indo-Singapore CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement) signed in 2005 which has already resulted in the increase of bilateral trade between the two countries by 70% to more than $13 billion in 2006.

Health services, estimated to be worth over $4 billion in India, was recognised by the CECA as a key area with significant promise. The report says Singapore needs skilled personnel like physiotherapists, speech therapists, radiologists, clinical scientists, medical social workers, discharge case coordinators, investigators.

"This would necessitate that the existing sources of medical talent in Singapore be supplemented by new alternatives," said the report which highlighted the areas where skill of the two economies could be effectively harnessed for mutual benefit.

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