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Punjab govt signs deal with international agency for digital infrastructure in health sector

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Ushering in a new era in terms of responsible and inclusive deployment of digital technologies for health, the Punjab Government and International Digital Health & Artificial Intelligence Research Collaborative (I-DAIR), hosted at the Graduate Institute of International & Development Studies in Geneva, inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

While signing the MoU on behalf of Punjab Government, Additional Chief Secretary, Governance Reforms Anirudh Tewari stated that the Covid-19 pandemic reminds us of the importance of public health for the personal, social and economic wellbeing of citizens. Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play an important role in combating infectious diseases and the forgotten pandemic of non-communicable diseases, said the ACS.

Meanwhile, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Hussan Lal informed that the Punjab Government and I-DAIR will be laying the groundwork for key projects in the coming months that will include data interoperability, real time epidemiology and dashboard, benchmarking of digital health solutions and ways to enhance synergy across communities of practice which will supplement and build on the ongoing digital health work of the State Government.

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Congratulating the team for this unique initiative, Chief Secretary, Vini Mahajan said, “We are proud that Punjab has been chosen as the first government partner of I-DAIR in developing models of people-centric digital infrastructures for health.”

Taking part in the deliberations, CEO of I-DAIR Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill, apprised that Punjab was a pioneer in another era of technology for development – the green revolution six decades ago. He further pointed out that this collaborative endeavour would provide digital opportunity to nearly 30 million Punjabis to reinvent and reinvigorate the delivery of health services in the world. He added that the I-DAIR team looks forward to developing this strategic partnership over the coming years to ensure the best medical and healthcare facilities to the citizens.

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Notably, the Department of Governance Reforms & Public Grievances which is responsible for digital transformation work, will lead the collaboration with I-DAIR in partnership with the Department of Health and Family Welfare. Research and development (R&D) partners from academia, industry and the health care sector from Punjab and the neighbouring regions will be involved from the outset. Further, I-DAIR’s MoU with the State Government now joins a set of initial agreements with stakeholders such as the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Foundation for Innovative & New Diagnostics FIND) and the University of Geneva.