PUNE: As part of the year-long platinum jubilee celebrations of Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Space and Atomic Energy, Dr Jitendra Singh, who is also a known Diabetologist and Professor of Medicine, today launched the Association of Physicians of India (API) Chapter of AFMC, Pune and also inaugurated as well as addressed the first annual conference of API-AFMS Continuing Medical Education (CME) on “Emerging trends in the practice of Medicine”.
Describing AFMC, Pune as the first Central Government institute of Medical Education established in 1948 much before the AIIMS, Delhi came into being, Dr Jitendra Singh said the idea of a separate AFMC came from none other than Dr BC Roy, who is also credited with nurturing the API.
“As a common legacy, the coming together of API and AFMC also has a historical value and marks a befitting tribute to the first-generation physician, Dr BC Roy,” he said.
In his Inaugural address at the Conference, Dr Jitendra Singh said the age of working in silos is over and during the nine years of governance under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, conscious efforts have been made to integrate different organs of the Government including Ministries and departments with various associations, institutes of higher and specialized learning and the Industry, particularly in the Healthcare sector.
Dr Jitendra Singh said new tools of diagnosis and therapeutic medicine require holistic and “Whole of Science” approach for desired optimum results.
Thanking PM Modi for bringing ‘Preventive Healthcare’ into focus in the country for the first time, Dr Jitendra Singh said, in a country with 70% population below the age of 40 and the youth of today are going to be the prime citizens of India@2047.
“Preventive healthcare and widespread mass screening will help India attain the status of a Developed Economy. The whole world recognised India’s leadership role during COVID-19, as it achieved the rare feat of delivering over 220 crore vaccinations through a fully digital platform – COWIN and the process continues. Under the leadership of PM Modi, in just a span of two years, India could produce two DNA vaccines and one nasal vaccine,” he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh said there has been a transition over the entire disease spectrum as well as the evolution of therapeutic and the preventive modalities available to us over the last half a century or so.
“After the Eighties, there was globalization or the so-called ‘democratization’ of diseases, so we also started having the lifestyle diseases, coronary diseases, etc, and coupled with that also the change in life expectancy,” he said, pointing out that the life expectancy has gone up close to 70 years of age.
With the same objective, said Dr Jitendra Singh, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology today signed an MoU with Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), Ministry of Defence. The MOU envisages to build research collaborations in Biomedical sciences and also promote scientific cooperation through faculty exchange programmes.
The MoU was signed during a brief ceremony at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune by Dr. Rajesh S Gokhale, Secretary, DBT and Lt Gen Daljit Singh, DGAFMS in the presence of Dr Jitendra Singh.
“The MoU will help in pioneering new research in areas like Genomics, which have a bearing on Lifestyle Diseases and emerging diseases like Malignant Cancer,” he said.
Congratulating DBT and AFMS for coming together for signing this MOU on Inter-Ministerial Cooperation for Collaborative Research and Training, Dr Jitendra Singh said that Biotech applications are diverse and critical to ensuring the health, safety and performance of Military personnel.
“DBT has made significant contributions in the Biomedical sector especially in the development of advanced diagnostics, therapeutics and Vaccines and is engaged in cutting edge research to support our health systems,” he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the MoU is yet another step towards the “Whole of Government” vision as laid down by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi through integration of schemes and ideas, breaking silos between Ministries and Departments.
“Biotechnology will be the key to Amrit Kaal economy and also for making India a frontline nation in the world. Biotechnology Sector has seen massive progress in 9 years from 50 to 6000 Biotech StartUps and Bioeconomy from 10 to 80 Billion USD, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Rajesh S Gokhale, Secretary, DBT said that the big data pertaining to microbiome and genome can be leveraged towards precision health and precision nutrition for our forces.