IIT Delhi teams up with National Health Authority to strengthen India's COVID-19 response

To strengthen India's response to COVID-19 crisis and preparedness for emerging healthcare needs, the National Health Authority has signed an MoU with IIT Delhi.

IIT Delhi teams up with National Health Authority to strengthen India's COVID-19 response
Press Trust of India | Aug 13, 2021 - 8:36 a.m. IST
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New Delhi: Recognising the role of innovations to strengthen India's response to COVID-19 crisis and preparedness for emerging healthcare needs, the National Health Authority has signed an MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. Through this partnership, the National Health Authority (NHA) will be a technical collaborator on the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported SAMRIDH Healthcare Blended Financing Facility, a statement by the NHA said.

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IIT Delhi serves as the hosting entity for SAMRIDH. This initiative is implemented by a Technical Support Unit managed by IPE Global. SAMRIDH Healthcare Blended Financing Facility aims to catalyse market-based health solutions to improve access to affordable and quality healthcare services for low-income and vulnerable communities, particularly for Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) beneficiaries.

SAMRIDH has mobilised a capital pool of more than USD 100 million from private sector and development funders. It leverages this fund to offer both grant and debt financing provision to healthcare enterprises and innovators, the statement said. Through this partnership, NHA and IIT Delhi will support innovative solutions to address the needs and priorities of the AB PM-JAY ecosystem.

This collaboration will be crucial to support rapid scaling and absorption of health innovations across more than 23,000 PM-JAY empanelled hospitals. The innovations supported through the SAMIRDH facility will improve the health infrastructure, build capacity of healthcare providers and effective COVID-19 mitigation - all in the pursuit to achieve 'health for all' in India, the statement said.

Speaking about the collaboration, R S Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority, remarked, “Through this partnership, we will work with diverse health sector players to scale high potential health solutions and amplify the impact of Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY. I am extremely confident that in the years to come, this partnership will be a key enabler in making quality healthcare services in India more accessible and affordable.”

Reflecting on the scope of the partnership, Prof V Ramgopal Rao, director, IIT Delhi said, “We welcome this opportunity to work with the NHA to deconstruct the key challenges in delivering healthcare services across PM-JAY empanelled health facilities, and support enterprises in addressing the gaps with indigenous innovations. “SAMRIDH will provide a platform to facilitate affordable capital for scaling up of commercially viable innovations. The facility will also extend mentorship to enterprises from clinical, technology and business experts,” he noted. Highlighting the importance of this collaboration, Veena Reddy, Mission Director, USAID/India said,

“The USAID welcomes NHA and IIT-Delhi's collaboration on the SAMRIDH initiative to address the pandemic and future health crises. Their combined network and expertise will use high impact market-based solutions to bring healthcare services to the most vulnerable."

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