John Overmyer

Asian Footsteps in Africa

China has made a huge push into Africa in recent years, plowing in massive infrastructure investments in exchange for access to natural resources. In the long run, however, Indian companies and entrepreneurs may have more powerful advantages.

CAMBRIDGE – Don’t look now, but capitalism – maligned in these bailout-ridden recessionary days – is reshaping Africa inexorably. What is different today is that it is emanating from China and India, rather than from the conventional bastions of capitalist prowess.

Devi Shetty, a celebrated cardiac surgeon in Bangalore, brings health relief to India’s masses through his Narayana group of hospitals. Some years ago, I witnessed his early experiments with rural telemedicine, especially in the Indian states of Karnataka and West Bengal. In my visit last month, the wall was adorned by a large map of Karnataka festooned with colored pins, to indicate that he now served most district capitals in the remotest parts of the state. Moreover, a world map showed outreach to rural areas of East Africa and Southeast Asia, and the room has been upgraded to reflect a still-expanding global reach.

All this comes from carefully acquired experience – technical and sociological – with delivering expert medical advice through teleconference facilities, aided by satellite links. Shetty’s team has successfully participated in telemedicine consultations – multi-specialty, non-stop availability, and supplemented by continuing education – with hospitals in 14 African countries. This effort is part of then Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam’s ambitious pan-African e-Network project to link all 53 African capitals to tertiary care facilities across India.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;