Scope of collaboration has expanded to encompass various areas, such as mental health, global health security, and gender issues faced by youth, climate change, agriculture, and education
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in India (IACC) renewed the ongoing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), marking a continuation of their partnership. The scope of collaboration has expanded to encompass various areas, such as mental health, global health security, gender issues faced by youth, climate change, agriculture, and education. The signing of the MoU also served as an opportunity to launch a mental health program, specifically focusing on mental health in the post-COVID era.
Through strengthened collaboration with the private sector, the MoU will foster improved development outcomes in the areas including child health, HIV/AIDS, global health security, water and sanitation, issues concerning youth, gender and women’s empowerment, climate change, air and ocean pollution, agriculture, education, primary health care, and health systems strengthening. By renewing the MoU, the foundation has been laid for an additional five years of effective collaboration between the American and Indian business communities, aimed at achieving shared global development priorities.
Veena Reddy, Mission Director, USAID said, “At USAID, we believe that private enterprise is a powerful force for lifting lives, strengthening communities, and accelerating sustainable development. USAID values our ongoing partnership with the IACC and its members. This MOU leverages the combined capacities of the U.S. Government and the American and Indian private sector to support shared development goals.”
As a key initial step under the renewed MOU, USAID and IACC have announced the establishment of a working group. This working group will focus on engaging local organizations and institutions as partners in order to promote equitable change. By involving IACC members, the group aims to ideate and develop tools that are responsive to local priorities. They will draw upon local capacities, diverse networks, and resources, with the ultimate goal of maximizing impact by empowering and engaging local organisations. This approach will ensure that tailored solutions are provided to address community needs effectively.
Dr Lalit Bhasin, National President, IACC added, “IACC is delighted to partner with USAID for the next five years and beyond for scripting paradigm shifts in the synergy between business communities of both countries to take it to further heights and cover more areas, consolidate and build on the existing areas of cooperation. Together, we will work toward new dynamics, agenda, and pathways to add values at every step of our cooperation.”
Experts pointed out that the expenditure in India on healthcare is one percent of GDP, whereas Bangladesh spends more than us. A report by McKinsey said that one-fourth of the employees in the US didn’t want to go back to the office and prefer to work from home, but the same report said that the depression has quadrupled despite employees working from home. Basically, work from home created more stress and mental health issues.
Almost 13 per cent of Indians have some mental health disorder according to the National Mental Health survey in 2015 and 2016. Talking at the session on mental health, Dr Sunil Mittal, senior psychiatrist, Cosmos Institute of Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences, & vice president, World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), pointed out that more than 50% of the items listed in the MoU concern mental health. He added, “India accounts for one-third of global female suicide, one-fourth of male suicide, and in real terms every three minutes an Indian commits suicide. We have over 9000 psychiatrists, which is an abysmal ratio; clinical psychologists numbers are even lesser with around 2000; the barriers in India are stigma, lack of awareness, accessibility and affordability of care.”