New Delhi, Aug. 15 (PTI) The US is poised to block the bid by India to become the world leader in gynecol treatment, as a US Senate subcommittee on international health heard testimony on Wednesday.
The subcommittee on the Global Health and Medical Devices (GHDM) in the US Senate heard testimony from a senior Indian medical expert on India’s health system and its failure to address a range of critical health problems.
India is facing multiple and growing challenges, including its lack of access to quality care, lack of effective vaccines and high levels of maternal and neonatal mortality.
The testimony also discussed the recent case of a 16-month-old Indian infant who died of septicemia in the United States and India, where the baby had a low birth weight and high maternal mortality rates.
The case is a major concern in the global community, where India has the world’s highest maternal mortality rate, according to a UN report released in 2016.
In its latest report on maternal mortality, the UN agency UNICEF said that between 2010 and 2015, India recorded a maternal death rate of 5.6 per 1,000 live births, compared with 3.6 in the UK, 2.4 in France and 2.1 in Germany.
The United States has long been an advocate for access to safe and quality healthcare, with US President Donald Trump pledging to take action to address India’s “disproportionately high maternal and infant mortality rates”.
“We’re also concerned about the lack of attention to the needs of women and girls,” said Dr. Michael Bocanegra, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, which is leading a global campaign to raise awareness about maternal and child health.
Dr. John Rabinowitz, a professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, said that despite the global challenges facing India, it is working hard to improve the country’s maternal and newborn mortality rates and access to health services.
“The United Kingdom and other nations have achieved some very important improvements in their maternal and baby mortality rates, but India is nowhere near that kind of level,” he said.
The committee also heard from Dr. Harsh Vaidyanathan, who led the US’s National Institutes of Health-funded study of the use of antibiotics in India and is now with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
“As a result, the United Nations and the United Kingdom have a lot of work to do in India, and I think the United State will be able to make some significant progress,” he told the subcommittee.
Dr Vaidhanathan has been critical of the US government’s approach to maternal and paediatric health issues.
He has raised concerns about the high levels and prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in India’s rural areas and said the US should be doing more to help the country address this issue.