Would Like to Work on Public Health in India: Barack Obama

Would Like to Work on Public Health in India: Barack Obama

US President and PM Modi during a joint address to the nation on 'Mann ki Baat'

New Delhi: US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that that he and his wife Michelle would like to work on public health issues in India, including the issue of obesity.

President Obama, who addressed a special episode of "Mann Ki Baat" radio programme in New Delhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was answering a question on whether he and the US First Lady would like to work on health issues in India like philanthropist couple Bill and Melinda Gates.

"Well, we very much look forward to partnering with organisations, and the government and non-governmental organisations here in India, around broader public health issues, including the issue of obesity," President Obama said.

"I am very proud of the work that Michelle has done on this issue. We're seeing a world-wide epidemic of obesity, in many cases starting at a very young age," Barack Obama said.

"And a part of it has to do with increase in processed foods, not naturally prepared. Part of it is a lack of activity for too many children. And once they are on this path, it can lead to a life time of health challenges," the US president said.

He said: "This is an issue that we would like to work on internationally, including here in India. And it is a part of a broader set of issues around global health that we need to address."

President Obama said that he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed how to better handle issues like a pandemic. "And making sure that we have good alert systems so that if a disease like Ebola, or a deadly flu virus, or polio appears, it is detected quickly and then treated quickly so that it doesn't spread."

He stressed that the public health infrastructure around the world needs to be improved.

"I think the prime minister is doing a great job in focusing on these issues here in India. And India has a lot to teach many other countries who may not be advancing as rapidly in improving this public health sector," he said.