May 5, 2023, New Delhi, India: The United States and India are partnering to address global development challenges, leveraging their respective experiences and areas of expertise for the global good. Under the India-U.S. Triangular Development Partnership, jointly implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and India’s Ministry of External Affairs Development Partnership Administration II (MEA-DPA-II), from May 1-5, 2023, a delegation from the Republic of Fiji is visiting India to explore opportunities for collaboration in telemedicine and psychosocial care and strengthen Fiji’s capacity to provide a wide range of mental health and emergency care services during disasters and in post-disaster settings.
An island nation, Fiji is vulnerable to rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and extreme weather. The Fijian islands experience the impacts of cyclones on an annual basis. As climate change increases the frequency of natural disasters in the Pacific Island region, bolstering resilient health infrastructure, in addition to physical infrastructure, is critical to support the people of Fiji in the event of a disaster.
The delegation, which includes senior officials from Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the National Disaster Management Office, will engage with India’s National Health Authority to develop a roadmap for a telemedicine and psychosocial health care model to work in Fiji. The delegation will also receive hands-on training on India’s telemedicine program at the
Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in Mohali and the implementation of psychosocial support and mental health services in the context of disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation at The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences in Bengaluru.
USAID/India Mission Director Veena Reddy said, “The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership is a significant contributor to regional and global stability and prosperity. Our shared purpose is to work together and leverage our combined capacities to share best practices and knowledge to address global development challenges for the benefit of the wider region and the world. We also appreciate the robust collaboration provided by the Government of Fiji. This initiative is one of the many we plan to facilitate in the coming months.”
High Commissioner of the Republic of Fiji to India, Kamlesh Prakash, said, “We are very grateful to collaborate on training through the India-U.S. Triangular Development Project. We see this triangular cooperation as very innovative in harnessing the strengths of the United States and India, and this can be a game changer for Fiji and the Pacific in the area of telemedicine and psychosocial care in the event of disasters especially given that the frequency and intensity of natural disasters have been on the rise.”
This collaboration falls under the framework of a Statement of Guiding Principles on Triangular Cooperation for Global Development signed by the United States and India in November 2014 with the shared intention to work together and leverage the combined capacities of the two countries to address global development challenges in collaboration with third countries. To advance this, USAID in partnership with MEA-DPA II launched the India-U.S. Triangular Development Partnership, to jointly engage in development activities across the Indo-Pacific region and globally.
The visit of the Fijian delegation to India is a significant step towards addressing the challenges posed by climate change and responding to disasters caused by extreme weather events. Aligned with the G20 theme of “One Earth, One Family, One Future,” the visit highlights U.S. and India’s partnership in promoting innovation and cutting-edge solutions that will benefit countries throughout the Indo-Pacific.