Trending news: How India will make the whole world healthy

Mansukh Mandaviya
‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhin: Sarve Santu Niramaya, Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu Ma Kashchid Dukh Bhagbhavet.’ Means everyone should be happy, everyone should be healthy, everyone should be well, no one should have any sorrow. Our motto in G-20 is also ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ which is derived from our concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. With this mantra, India will present its vision and commitment towards a global health structure in front of the whole world in the meetings of the G-20 Health Working Group starting this month in Thiruvananthapuram.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the health infrastructure of all countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defined the core objective of India’s G-20 presidency as ‘healing, harmony and hope’. He holds a vision of a more human-centred globalization that prioritizes universal health. Learning from the Covid disaster, when Indonesia was chairing the G-20, it called for strengthening the global health infrastructure.

In India’s context, for us the global health architecture rests on three priorities. First, to strengthen capabilities at the national level to contain disease outbreaks. Along with many organizations like WHO, World Bank, G7, Access to COVID19 Tools Accelerator, we are trying to identify and fix the loopholes in the system by coordinating existing resources. Our ‘One Health’ motto will act as a link between man, organism and environment. The G-20 India will work towards strengthening the health track and the global health emergency framework, as well as integrating disaster resilience into it. Anticipating such future challenges, Saudi Arabia, Italy and the Indonesian Presidencies have created the Financial Intermediary Fund for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

The second priority is to strengthen cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector and ensure equal access to quality vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. Indian generic medicines have a different importance in the whole world. India to supply pharma products worth $24.47 billion to 200 countries in FY2022. The whole world has appreciated India’s role in bridging the disparity of life saving vaccines. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, through ‘Vaccine Maitri’, India gave Covid vaccine to more than 100 countries in the most difficult times. India supplies affordable HIV drugs and anti-TB generic drugs to many low- and middle-income countries. It is our endeavor to create a conducive framework for clinical trials, research, development support and affordable medical solutions for these. To strengthen the pharma sector, the government has started the Production Linked Incentive Scheme.

The third priority is to promote the development and innovation of digital health facilities for universal health coverage. The experiences from COVID-19 have shown us how digital technologies can help in data collection, medical solutions and virtual care in remote areas. Millions of citizens used the Covin app to get vaccinated, tele-consultation proved to be a life saver in remote areas. E-Sanjeevani, the free telemedicine service of the Government of India, has given eight crore tele-consultations. Under this priority, we plan to promote global digital public health goods – tele-medicine, tele-radiology, teleophthalmology and even an e-ICU. It is hoped that the collective efforts of the G-20 members will create an ecosystem that will provide a level-playing field for low-middle income countries.

During the difficult times of the Covid pandemic, India has proved its mettle across the world through its Universal Immunization Program. Taking this experience, the G-20 chairmanship has given us a platform to present the new vision of a ‘healthy world’ to the world.

(The author is Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Chemicals and Fertilizers)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own.

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