“Pandemic policy must be a defining part of our health policy as any health crisis today leads to an economic crisis due to the multisectoral nature of our inter-connected world”. This was stated by Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare during her address to the 1st Health Working Group meeting under G20 India Presidency, here today. Shri S V Muraleedharan, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog were also present on the occasion.
Dr Pawar noted that pandemic prevention, preparedness and response require diverse multi-sectoral, multi-agency coordinate efforts. She emphasized on the need for strengthening and empowering communities to become resilient to future health emergencies. She stated that “COVID19 will not be the last pandemic. The learnings must form the agenda for our preparedness and response together. We need to diversify our capabilities and ensure that collectively, we preserve ourselves in the face of any health crisis”.
She also underscored the importance of building resilient health systems and investing in lifesaving vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.
Highlighting India’s strong culture of medical practices and innovation, Shri S V Muraleedharan noted that Hon’ble Prime Minister’s clarion call for “One Earth, One Family, One Future” is pro-planet approach, one that is in harmony with nature for an increasingly globalized world.
He also emphasized upon the delegates the “need to align our agenda for preparedness and response together to be able to effectively meet any health emergencies”. We should be prepared to collectively meet any health challenges in the future, he stated.
Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary highlighted India’s aim to achieve convergence in discussions across various multilateral fora engaged in health cooperation, as chair of the G20 Presidency. He reiterated three priorities for the G20 Health Track, namely, Health Emergencies Prevention, Preparedness and Response (with focus on One Health & AMR); Strengthening Cooperation in Pharmaceutical Sector with focus on Access and Availability to safe, effective, quality and Affordable Medical Countermeasures (Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics); and Digital Health Innovations and Solutions to Aid Universal Health Coverage and Improve Healthcare Service Delivery.
The Indonesian and Brazilian Troika members appreciated and commended the Indian Presidency for setting up the three health priorities. They stated that the pandemic has given an opportunity to strengthen our health systems and the need today is to accelerate our efforts to ensure universal health coverage.
Dr. Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Dept of Health Research, Shri Lav Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Shri Abhay Thakur, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, representatives from the G20 member countries, special invitee countries, international organizations, forums and partners like WHO, World Bank, WEF etc., and senior officers of the Union Government were present.