Narayana Nethralaya has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Europe’s reputed medical institution, Maastricht University, Netherlands for research in preventive care for ophthalmology that will also address the issue to reduce the cost of treatment.
The MoU will enable the two institutes to promote joint high level research into ophthalmology, leading to innovations in revolutionary and affordable medical interventions for various eye ailments.
Dr Bhujang Shetty, chairman and managing director, Narayana Nethralaya & Dr Guy Peeters, CEO and chairman of board of Maastricht University Medical Centre, signed the MoU.
Commenting on the MoU, Dr Bhujang Shetty said, “In India, the focus is more on treating ailments with drugs and therapies. There are hardly any efforts to identify the cause for the ailment. This MoU will focus on extensive research to promote innovation in the field of drug discovery from the preventive perspective. This will be of immense benefit to developing nations, such as India, where population is high and preventive medicine is the way forward.”
Airing similar views, Dr Guy Peeters noted that Narayana Nethralaya was opted for the research pact after much due diligence taking into consideration their capabilities and past track record.
“Though we already have generic agreements with other medical institutions in India, including NIMHANS, Narayana Hrudayalaya, and JSS University, this is the first of its kind comprehensive MoU, which also mandates setting up of a Centre of Excellence for exclusive research into ophthalmology,” he added.
The salient features of the MoU, apart from joint research into ophthalmology, are: faculty exchange programmes, joint research programmes into healthcare, working with international partners on large framework projects, and organizing international conferences on various topics related to ophthalmology and eye care.
“The cost of treatment is exorbitant in India because we have to pay for the patents held by pharmaceutical companies. This MoU will facilitate us to take one step backwards and identify the root cause of the ailment. The focus is clearly on preventive medicine, which will become affordable. The Maastricht University follows a similar model. This MoU creates a platform and unique opportunity to allow flow of ideas across continents. This can be achieved through setting up of research infrastructure, knowledge exchange through exchange programs and through joint research framework,” said Dr Rohit Shetty, vice-chairman, Narayana Nethralaya.
Maastricht University has been active in India since 2008. Prof. Frits van Merode, Dean for Sciences, who is part of 4-member delegation, spearheaded this initiative, pointed out that Indian students were keen on pursuing research-led PhD programmes. There are around 35 ongoing PhD programmes at 11 institutions here.
Among the researchers, there are medical doctors, microbiologists, computer sciences engineers, physicist and professionals from allied sciences. The University has been working with Narayana Nethralaya on research programmes for the last one and half years and five research scholars, have already made considerable progress with their research publications. (Pharmabiz)