New Delhi : India is driven by the philosophy of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ which has inspired us to gift COVID-19 vaccines, HCQs and other medical necessities to all our friends. Further, India is willing to supply Covishield and Covaxin to all the countries present.” This was stated by Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Pharmaceuticals today in his meeting with the ambassadors of Latin American and Caribbean nations (the GRULAC formation).
Dr. Mandaviya in his address emphasized the need to strengthen Public Health system to fight public health outbreaks in the future. He stated, “India has been able to fight COVID-19 under a ‘whole of government’ approach where provincial and local governance provided fillip to the efforts of the Government of India”. Explaining India’s strategy of curbing COVID-19, he spoke on the 6 vaccines approved in India, of which 2 are indigenously developed. Near 1.2 billion doses have been administered with 82% of Indians receiving at least one dose of the vaccine and 44% of Indians being fully vaccinated.
The Minister thanked the representatives of the country for easing people to people contact by recognising Vaccination in India. Vaccination in India is recognised by 110 countries at present. “Mutual recognition of vaccinations increases ease of travel for tourism and business thereby boosting economic recovery the world so desperately needs,” he said.
He highlighted how India helped other countries throughout the Pandemic: Being the Pharmacy of the World, India has generously supplied HCQ tablets and other medical equipment to 27 countries. Under the Vaccine Maitri initiative, 6.63 crore doses were sent to 95 countries.
Speaking on possible areas of convergence, Dr. Mandaviya noted that more than 70 million teleconsultations has been recorded in eSanjeevani- India’s flagship telemedicine portal. He said that with India’s expertise in Information Technology, India could quickly deploy the CoWIN platform for its vaccination programme. He said that India has already shared the technology with partner nations willing to adopt the technology and will help all nations looking to scale up their vaccination.
The Union Health Minister also brought attention to India’s triumphant march towards Universal Health Care. The four pillars of Ayushman Bharat: envisioning of 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres at primary level, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana that provides insurance to targeted population categories, the Health Infrastructure Mission with an outlay of 670 million rupees that will strengthen India’s public healthcare system along with diagnostic and surveillance capabilities, the Digital Mission which will provide all Indians with a unique health ID and make their medical history available to approved clinicians in seconds. He said, “Under Prime Minister Modi, India’s healthcare is witnessing a revolutionary transformation which can be adopted by her friends.”
He noted that Indian Pharma companies produce safe affordable efficacious drugs for nearly all of these countries and directed their attention to India’s Jan Aushadhi Kendras: they sell the cheapest alternative of generic drugs to potential beneficiaries in India. The possibility of adoption of this practice for providing access to quality and affordable medicines in these nations with similar socio-economic conditions was touched upon.
The Union Minister also exhorted the assembled nations to study the possibility of an exchange program for health professionals. Besides skill upgradation and exposure to specializations of health in the American continent for Indians, students of these countries would have high quality world-class medical practices in India in the fields of Cardiology, Oncology, Nephrology, Neurology, Ophthalmology. He also highlighted possible areas of co-operation in medical tourism.
Union Secretary (Health), Shri Rajesh Bhushan with regard to medical tourism observed that NAAC Board carries out accreditation of Hospitals in India and co-operation with other accreditation bodies of these countries would set common standards and boost the rising sector.
Union Secretary (Pharma), Ms. S. Aparna directed the attention of the ambassadors to the fact that India with more than 700 production sites was the largest producer of pharmaceutical formulations, next only to US. The basket of exports although majorly composed of finished products has intermediate products indicating a continuous supply chain and thus potential for greater engagement with countries of the region. She also spoke on India’s incentive to greenfield pharma initiatives and the scope for investment in this sector.
The event was officiated by Ambassador of Paraguay, H.E. Fleming Duarte. Ambassador of Chile, H.E. Juan Angulo, Ambassador of Mexico, H.E. Federico Salas, Ambassador of Colombia, H.E. Mariana Pacheco offered their thoughts on behalf of the formation and thanked India for her valuable contribution in COVID-19.