Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden paid a state visit to India on 2–6 December 2019 at the invitation of the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind. The visit aimed to strengthen good relations between the two countries and renew the memorandums of understanding (MoUs). To commemorate the 10-year completion of the MoU in 2019, 2020 will be celebrated as the India-Sweden year of health. Over the years, the two countries have cooperated to improve mother-and-child health, midwifery, and work against communicable diseases. As part of the renewed MoU, collaborations are being planned to improve elderly care, work against non-communicable diseases and support digital innovations in health where the emphasis will be on knowledge transfer, capacity building and skills training.
SCI’s interim CEO and Assistant Manager at Stiftelsen Silviahemmet, Petra Tegman was invited by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Sweden to represent Silviahemmet at various events held throughout Their Majesties’ visit. She was accompanied by our Business Growth Intern, Anukriti Banerjee who has focused on Business Development in India as part of SCI’s growth strategy.
SCI participated in the geriatric track during the state visit on December 2 and 3 along with Swecare’s Lotta Liljelund, Acting CEO and Shampa Saira Bari, Regional Director, Innovation Partnerships at Swecare Foundation. Below is a summary of their participation throughout the two days.
Day 1 – December 2
The day started with the team’s visit to Epoch Elder Care, an assisted living home for seniors and people living with dementia, where they were joined by Mr Samit Kamat and Mr Nikunj Kacha from Arjo. They were warmly received by Epoch’s Founder and CEO Neha Sinha and her team who provided an extensive overview of their operations and philosophy on elderly care. Epoch Elder Care has been an SCI Education Partner since 2016.
This was followed by a study visit at Medanta – The Medicity, a multi-speciality medical institute in Delhi NCR started in 2009 with cardiac surgeon, Dr Naresh Trehan. Dr Trehan is a cardiovascular and cardiothoracic surgeon who has served as personal surgeon to the President of India since 1991. The focus of this session was to discuss the possibility of greater collaboration between Sweden and India to improve elderly and dementia care facilities at the hospital.
The final session was a meeting with Dr Shailendra Kumar B Hegde, Head – Clinical Domain, Piramal Swasthya. Piramal Swasthya is a registered not for profit organization supported by Piramal Foundation and believes in “Democratizing Healthcare” – making Healthcare accessible, affordable and available to all segments of the population, especially those most vulnerable As explained by Dr Hegde, Piramal Swasthya works extensively with telemedicine and engages in remote health advisory & intervention service, and community outreach programmes. With greater emphasis placed on digital health innovations in the renewed India-Sweden MoU, services such as telemedicine have even more potential to reach high-needs areas.
Day 2 – December 3
The second day commenced with a roundtable discussion at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) held in the presence of Her Majesty. Following a welcome address by AIIMS Director Professor Randeep Guleria and Queen Silvia, various speakers from AIIMS, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Swedish representatives presented their take on the status and progress of elderly and dementia care efforts in India.
“Never before have we had so much knowledge. Never before has there been so many elderly care services available.” – HM Queen Silvia of Sweden
Here are some highlights from the day:
- Professor Rajeev Kumar, Associate Dean, AIIMS and Dr Mukesh Kumar, Head Division of International Health presented an overview of the progress which has taken place since the signing of an (MoI) between FORTE and ICMR. Some interesting projects which have been undertaken since are the study of yoga with relation to elderly care, and the cross-cultural application of medical devices through collaboration with Umea and Uppsala universities.
- Associate Professor (AP) Maja Fjaestad, State Secretary, Ministry of Health & Social Affairs, Sweden, highlighted the Swedish approach to addressing the challenges related to ageing and dementia. AP Fjaestad commended the FORTE-ICMR MoI and the MoU which brings greater opportunities for collaboration and healthcare improvements in both Sweden and India.
- Professor Maria Eriksdotter, Dean of Karolinska Institutet South Campus, highlighted three key areas in healthy ageing: stimulating research, a collaboration between industries and the healthcare sector, and education for caregivers and the general population. She also spoke about SveDem, the Swedish Dementia Registry a tool for improving the quality of diagnostics, treatment and care of people living with dementia.
- Ms Petra Tegman spoke about the importance of knowledge and skills training for caregivers of people living with dementia. She exemplified the importance of the four cornerstones of the Silviahemmet philosophy: person-centred care, communication, family support and teamwork as fundamentals of good dementia care.
“Since we don’t have any cure for dementia, nursing is the best medicine” – Petra Tegman
The speeches and stakeholder exchange moderated by Ms Lotta Liljelund was followed by an exhibition tour to showcase the various initiatives undertaken to improve dementia diagnosis at the AIIMS hospital. Professors and students from various specialisations within geriatric care demonstrated through models and role-play how a person may be given a diagnosis and care plan for dementia.
After the roundtable discussion, Ms Tegman, Professor Eriksdotter and Ms Liljelund were invited to a meeting with Dr AB Dey, Professor and Head, Department of Geriatric Medicine and Dr Prasun Chatterjee, Associate Professor and Geriatrician at AIIMS. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the application of memory clinics at the 19 Regional Geriatric Centers under the National Program for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Similar to SveDem, AIIMS has also created a registry of patients with major and minor neurocognitive disorders to focus on diagnosis, care and support for caregivers.
In the afternoon, Ms Tegman joined a Health Luncheon “Vision for Health” hosted by Socialdepartementet, which was an intimate lunch with only about 30 people from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Affairs and the relevant Swedish companies in the Business Delegation.
Following the Health Luncheon, team SCI attended the Health Summit to mark the India-Sweden Year of Health and celebrated 10 years of the MoU. The event began with a recap of the milestones and key achievements in the past 10 years with regards to Sweden-India relations. Ministers from both countries commended the joint efforts undertaken to improve business and healthcare and celebrated the renewal of the MoU.
The day ended with a dinner hosted by the Swedish Ambassador to India, Mr Klas Molin & Ms Theresa Ildefonso at the Ambassador’s residence. The dinner marked an end to Their Majesties’ visit to New Delhi. SCI is honoured to have had the opportunity to have participated in key events throughout the two days. We are also excited by the immense potential in the field of elderly and dementia care in India and look forward to being a part of these developments.