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Expanding cooperation between Afghanistan and India to strengthen health sector

Public-private partnerships present opportunities to strengthen Afghanistan's health sector.

Photo credit: Unsplash

India and Afghanistan are looking to expand cooperation between the countries' health sectors. About USD $285M leave Afghanistan each year – according to the 2011-2012 National Health Accounts – as Afghans seek healthcare outside the country. Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health is committed to engaging the private health sector to help strengthen its health system.

Palladium’s Dr. Omarzaman Sayedi, Deputy Chief of Party for USAID’s Afghanistan Health Sector Resilience (HSR) project, recently moderated a panel at a trade show in India. Dr. Sayedi discussed public-private partnership opportunities in Afghanistan with an audience of Indian investors, private health sector businesses, and representatives of multinational health sector companies – including GE and Seimens – that are operating out of India.

The trade show was hosted by the Indian Government and sponsored by USAID, with notable attendees including the Afghanistan Minister of Public Health, the General Director of Policy and Planning (Ministry of Public Health), and Director of the Central Public-Private Partnership Unit (Ministry of Finance).

This event was a large step towards expanding cooperation across the health sector between Afghanistan and India. At the forefront of the show’s agenda was investment opportunities to scale-up clinical capacity, improve diagnostic services, expand the pharmaceutical sector, and upgrade training facilities. Afghan ministers and HSR even met with India’s top hospital and health sector leaders to discuss investment options, including public-private partnerships, business-to-business partnerships, licensing, and franchising – promising leads to help fulfill Afghanistan’s commitment to build up its health sector.