- As India enters the decisive decade for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, adopted by all United Nations member-states in 2015) by 2030, the health goal (SDG3) poses the biggest challenge in the country.
- No doubt, India has made progress in the field of science and technology in the past few years and has also made strides developing affordable and accurate diagnostic tools, including a point-of-care molecular detection platform that can detect a variety of infectious agents.
- Such innovations will enable better diagnosis and treatment at the primary health centre level.
- Scientific breakthroughs are possible, but far from inevitable. India’s leadership in this space is encouraging, as is its vision for the future: by 2030, the government aims to place India among the top three countries globally in science and technology.
- However, to realize this ambition, the country needs to sustain science funding and find new ways to incentivize urgently needed innovation to eradicate diseases such as NTDs.
- The country needs to step up health research institutions, develop artificial intelligence systems and algorithms based on the huge expanse of Indian data to make them nationally relevant.
- The ambit of research must spread from molecular biology to social determinants of health, to predict and prevent diseases at individual and population levels.
It is vital for the countries to group together to intensify their efforts to eliminate NTDs by 2030. Only with this kind of synergy, it is possible to accelerate our mission in order to reach the affected population of the world. No-one will be left behind.