India and African nations have decided to take major steps to boost collaborations in joint medical research and work to harmonise regulatory frameworks to develop the pharmaceutical market in Africa. "India and over 20 African nations, agreed to take concrete steps to boost health and research collaborations. In light of the similar health challenges faced by both India and Africa, the delegates elucidated the need to take appropriate steps in the areas of joint biomedical research. "..medical education and pharmaceutical manufacturing and trade. Progress in these areas will ensure that critical health products and services are accessible to marginalised and neglected populations at a price they can afford," the leaders of India and Africa decided at the conclusion of the first India\u2013Africa Health Sciences Meet, a statement said. The statement said that both India and Africa decided to make efforts to ensure accessible and affordable health services for all and initiate more scholarships, exchange programmes and collaborative research projects to facilitate and expedite research work for improved understanding of common diseases. "The meet recommended harmonisation of regulatory frameworks to advance development of pharma market in African nations," the statement said. Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Soumya Swaminathan said that the principles for this partnership are clear and it will be reciprocal and built on complementary strengths for developing excellence in clinical and biomedical research in both regions. "Our political leadership led by the Prime Minister is extremely forward looking in promoting both science and technology as well as strengthening relationships between India and Africa. "There could not be a more opportune time to have this meeting," the statement quoted Jitendra Singh, Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) as saying during the concluding ceremony. The recommendations at the meet broadly focused on how capacities can be jointly built and strengthened in health and research, to improve the delivery of care, address diseases of common concern and achieve shared health goals. Amar Sinha, Secretary, MEA said that while the Africa Health Fund was announced by Prime Minister last year, a well thought out strategy and plan is needed to achieve its goal. Jointly organised by ICMR, Health Ministry, and External Affairs Ministry, the three-day meet offered a common platform to policymakers, technocrats, scientists, medical specialists, researchers and industry leaders from the two regions. The ministries of Commerce and Industry, Science and Technology, and Chemicals and Fertilisers, were also involved to bring synergies to engage with Africa.