November 21, 2008

US seeks help of Indian American doctors in Afghanistan

The Bush administration has sought the help of the powerful Indian American doctors' community to help it improve and build the fragile healthcare facilities in Afghanistan.

"We are keen to work in Afghanistan," Prasad Srinivasan, secretary of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), said.

Representing some 46,000 physicians of Indian origin in the US, AAPI is one of the largest and most influential ethnic physicians body in the US.

Srinivasan said Assistant Secretary of Health, Admiral Joxel Garcia, had conveyed that the US Department of Health and Human Services would like to engage AAPI in providing health care to the people of Afghanistan.

Indian physicians with their wide-ranging experience and knowledge could provide invaluable service and collaborate in rebuilding the system in Afghanistan, Garcia said.

This is an exciting opportunity for AAPI to get involved with the federal government in a big way, Srinivasan said, adding: "Our services are required in areas like general health, child health, anaesthesia and maternity healthcare."

The US is keen on reducing the high maternal and infant mortality rate in Afghanistan.

Garcia requested AAPI to ask Indian American doctors to volunteer in Afghanistan to improve clinical training and care besides offering clinical mentorship to local health professionals.

Srinivasan said Garcia had assured that adequate security would be provided to the doctors who volunteer to go to Afghanistan.

Following the request, Srinivasan said this would be discussed within the AAPI leadership and a detailed action plan would be prepared soon.

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