AP Medtech Zone is an answer to the prayers of patients who are looking for cost effective medical treatment, says Dr Jitendar Sharma, Managing Director & CEO, Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ) and Advisor (Health and Medical Technology), Government of Andhra Pradesh, in an interview to Souvik Goswami and Gopi Krishna Arora of Elets News Network (ENN).
Q Andhra Pradesh has been a leader on many fronts when it comes to healthcare spectrum. Share with us the journey of the State.
The healthcare delivery traditionally has been understood as mechanisms to provide better care. But Andhra Pradesh has combined service delivery with industry promotion. This has been the unique trajectory taken by the State. While innovative models of healthcare service delivery are being adopted, innovated and implemented the industrial promotion part of healthcare service delivery, which means fiber optics, bandwidth of internet, production of medical devices, etc, Andhra Pradesh has been on the forefront in all of these. This has made Andhra Pradesh the only State in India and perhaps one of the very few provinces in the world that has efficiently integrated industry promotion with service delivery.
Q Can you give some examples of the unique feature of integration of service delivery with industry promotion?
We all know that diabetes is a health concern for many. For this, NCD screening is promoted in a big way. Most of the States or hospitals are buying blood glucose strips at a high cost. What Andhra Pradesh has done is unique. In AMTZ, we are producing world’s cheapest glucometer with Bluetooth and IoT integrated in it.
Because of this, we have been able to undertake screening at a much cheaper cost. It means two things — saving of money for the exchequer and screening of more people at same cost. This is a classic example of integrating industrial promotion with healthcare service delivery. Similarly we are one the forefront of TB diagnostics.
Also let me share with you that, there are only 2 companies in the world which makes linear accelerator (LINAC) for cancer care and it is one of the most complex medical equipment in the global market. Andhra Pradesh is on the verge of making a linear accelerator (LINAC) for cancer care. This will reduce the cost of cancer care.
Q What has been the progress of Andhra Pradesh Medtech Zone (AMTZ)?
AMTZ is yet to celebrate its second birthday. But we are already famous globally in this short span of time. Recently AMTZ has been awarded by the American Association for Clinical Engineering – an international organisation of repute on medical technology. In the history of this organisation, no Indian organisation has been even ever nominated. But AMTZ has got recognition from them. You must be wondering on why AMTZ has been given this award. It is because AMTZ has been able to lay down a costeffective model of medical technology production and all our laboratories are almost ready. In the world, there is no place, where all the scientific facilities required for medical technology production are available in one campus itself. This is a unique feature of AMTZ.
We have been able to create a rainbow of institutions like Kalam Institute of Health Technology, WHO pre-qualification cell for In Vitro diagnostics, Directorate of Radiation safety, etc and we have also been shortlisted to set up incubation center under the program of NITI Aayog. Our first product is set to be launched on 18 August, 2018. India’s first MRI, Dialysis machine will be produced in AMTZ too. 40 percent of the area is already sold out and more than 50 companies have been roped in there. So, in terms of policy front or infrastructure, AMTZ is ready to lead the discourse on medical technology sector in India and globally.
Q What fascinated all these companies and experts to come to AMTZ?
It’s about just three things. First, the scientific infrastructure provided by the State Government which is of finest class. Second comes the preferential market access policy by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Government of India, which legally and tangibly provides preference to an Indian manufacturer to qualify in government procurement system. Thirdly, good governance in Andhra Pradesh, which is led by none other than the Chief Minister of the State — Chandrababu Naidu, who is recognised globally for his governance. The success of AMTZ is equally the success of medical technology sector as a whole in India.
Q Andhra Pradesh has been a leader when it comes to using medical technology for providing better healthcare delivery. What is your opinion on this?
We are number one when it comes to the use of innovative technology for providing healthcare services. Andhra Pradesh is the only State in India where most of the technology incentive programmes of National Health Mission are implemented 100 percent.
Q On the other hand, Visakhapatnam is coming up as the next big medical tourism hub. Shed some light on this.
On the occasion of ‘AP Health Festival’ being jointly organised by Government of Andhra Pradesh & Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd, we are launching an organisation called Andhra Pradesh Medical Tourism Hub (AMRIT) in Visakhapatnam. Most of the hospitals in various metro cities are facing the problem of space cramp. It is possible to send section of the patients to picturesque settings of Visakhapatnam near the beach, with wellness & Spa facility, under the close monitoring of doctors and with tie ups with hospitals, so that patients can recover in a better ambience and can stay in a relaxed mood. AMRIT is being set up with the partnership Ministry of Tourism, Ministry Health & Family Welfare and Department of Ayush, Government of India. Also a state-of-the-art Health City is being set up which will have 40 hospitals in it and this will attract patients from world over for major surgical medical treatments. This ‘Health City’ near Visakhapatnam can be the next Thailand, Hong Kong or Singapore. Our aim is to make Visakhapatnam the next prominent address of healthcare envelope in the world.
Q Share with us your vision on AMTZ along with the overall healthcare spectrum of Andhra Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh is the first State in India to have announced Universal Health Coverage in 2017 and doing quite well on that front. The State will become an example of one-of-its-kind through outcome- based approach, result-oriented efficiency model and evidence-based monitoring. It is going to be a model for the rest of the world to follow in healthcare. On the other hand, AMTZ comes with a great advantage of being the only zone of one of its kind, globally. It comes with lots of advantages. It’s an apple of the eye of med-tech industry in India. AP Medtech Zone is an answer to the prayers of patients who are looking for cost-effective medical treatment.