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11 january 2013
New Delhi, India.
Health officials of the BRICS countries are discussing ways to strengthen cooperation in areas of manufacturing affordable health products

Health officials of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – Thursday discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in areas of manufacturing affordable health products and developing advanced health technologies.

The two–day deliberations begin Thursday with meeting of health secretaries and senior advisers, while the health ministers would participate on Friday.

The meeting will result in adoption of a Delhi Communique, which will see concrete plans on issues like integrated management of non–communicable prevention, coordination and financing of research and development for medical products, strengthening health surveillance and drug discovery and development.

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Addressing the meeting, India's Health Secretary P.K. Pradhan said BRICS countries represent 43 percent of the world's population and this is both a strength and challenge for them.

"Although we have been able to make significant progress in providing better health facilities to our peoples, we must recognize that much more still needs to be done," said Pradhan.

He said that the BRICS countries have several unique strengths such as the capacity for manufacturing affordable health products and research in some cutting edge areas.

"At the same time, we know that a large number of health challenges of the BRICS countries are common. We must together rise to the occasion with specific and agreed plans of collaboration to harness our strengths and overcome our weaknesses," he said.

This is the second meeting of BRICS health ministers following the first at Beijing in July 2011.

The Beijing Declaration emphasised the need for technology transfer as a means to empower developing countries, and the importance of generic medicines in realising the right to health.

It also emphasised the fostering of cooperation among BRICS countries to make available and improve medical technology. It was agreed to establish a technical working group to discuss specific proposals.

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