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Posted on December 20, 2013

The US Global Affairs assistant secretary Nils Daulaire, who was in Doha recently, has said America was keen to further consolidate its existing relations with Qatar in moving a global healthcare agenda forward. “It is very exciting that Qatar is taking on the leadership role, which is not just regional, but the one that has a potential to have global impact and that’s one of the reasons that I am here to be able to see this first hand and to also further encourage it,” Daulaire told Gulf Times in an interview on the sidelines of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) held recently in Doha.

The official was one of the presenters at the summit’s Anti-microbial resistance session. “I think what we are seeing here is the emergence of remarkable new dynamics in global health and Qatar is playing a vital role in it. The recognition that we have to think differently and we have to move nimbly and be creative in our approaches to health care in our countries and abroad are the one that I think must resonate,” he stressed.

“The US is extra-ordinarily grateful that Qatar is taking on this challenge, we think it is going to benefit the people of Qatar and also the world at large. We are having some conversations (on collaborations, details of which I can’t discuss now) and we look to do more things together,” he said. He disclosed that the ‘US is interested in seeing what will happen here in the Gulf States and that the country is interested in working together with all of them”.

Speaking further, Daulaire, who is also the World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board US representative described WISH as a ‘very interesting and productive meeting’ in terms of highlighting different kinds of innovations and changes that need to happen in improving health around the world. “Particularly interesting here during WISH was that…while Qatar is an advanced country and a strong economy in the world and the US is as well, the issues that are being raised here are not just applicable to rich countries but also very important for some of the world’s developing countries,” he said.

Qatar Airways HQ 300x250

The US official maintained that the underlining common purpose for all countries at various stages of development should be learning from each other and in adapting innovative new practices whether they come from global south or global north and in moving those transfers quickly back and forth.

‘This back and forth transfer is necessary because the way we improve health is by changing as rapidly as we can in the face of new challenges,” he noted while mentioning that a very important part of president Obama’s ‘Affordable Care Act’ is a learning agenda.

“It’s not in the sense of we know everything and have to apply it all… it’s a sense that we need to be nimble in terms of gathering information, analysing it and adjusting our policies based on the information that we received,” he explained adding: “The US is a very big country of 230mn, so it takes a lot of efforts to make change in something that’s large and one of the interesting points raised here at WISH earlier on was that small entities are actually much more nimble in terms of accepting and working on innovation.”

On helping low income countries in their efforts to innovate to solve their own health care problems, Daulaire said: “Part of this is a matter of both technical collaboration…this is no longer the 21st Century where developing countries would depend on foreign aids and technical assistance. At this point, I look at colleagues that we work together internationally, whether at the WHO or at the US National Institute of Health…some of the most skilled, constructive and innovative colleagues come from the global south.”

“There is no lack of brain power in the global south and so what the role is at this point is to maximise the exchange in the transfer of knowledge and skills and help fill gaps where they exist in terms of resources but not to fund things but to help build bridges,” he stressed. The official added that increasingly the focus of the US international development co-operation was to help build those bridges.

source: Gulf Times