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Houstonians and India Work Towards Making a Better India, Dr. Durga Agrawal Meets with Prime Minister Modi

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HOUSTON: During his recent visit to New Delhi in February 2017, Dr. Durga Agrawal, a prominent Houstonian along with his wife Smt. Sushila Agrawal and Mr. Braham Aggarwal, met with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Dr. Agrawal praised Prime Minister Modi for a great budget and his demonetization initiative to curb black money and benefits for farmers in India. He discussed on how a program similar to Doctorate of Nursing Practice program in Texas can help provide healthcare to masses in rural India. Although the number of health facilities in rural India has risen in the past decade, workforce shortages are substantial. As of March 31, 2015, more than 8% of 25,300 primary health centers in the country were without a doctor, 38% were without a laboratory technician, and 22% had no pharmacist.

Nearly 50% of posts for female health assistants and 61% for male health assistants remain vacant. Unlike a traditional research-based degree program, nurses can see patients, conduct research and teach other students also in Texas DNP program, and a similar model can help ease the workforce shortage in the healthcare sector in India. 

Dr. Agrawal discussed the model used by the prominent hospitals like M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where approximately 1,200 volunteers work full time and are given parking spots and encouraged to participate in providing care services to the patients. He suggested that expanding a similar volunteer program for high schools, colleges and hospitals in India may work very well. He also mentioned that organizations like BAPS have the best volunteer programs, and we can learn from them. 

Dr. Agrawal also appraised the Prime Minister on the increasing funding and role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine program in hospitals in Houston, TX. M D Anderson offers Yoga and Meditation classes to its patients. Dr. Agrawal also discussed the possibility of opening a medical center in India on the pattern of Texas Medical Center.

PM Modi introduced Dr Singh, Minister of State in his office to Durga to follow up with the appropriate authorities (health ministry, Secretary of Health) so that this some of these ideas/projects can be implemented. 

Prime Minister Modi remembered a dinner in 1993 at a Global Vision 2000 event in Washington DC, when Dr. Durga and other Houstonians had a dinner with him.  Dr. Durga also invited Prime Minister Modi to visit Houston, TX. 

Dr. Durga Agrawal is a founder trustee of India House, regent at University of Houston, and a well-established businessman in Houston. He and his wife Sushila Agrawal are engaged in several community activities in Houston area.

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