Remarks by Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Chemicals and Fertilizers, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya at the Health Ministers’ Session of the Voice of Global South Summit- January 13, 2023
I thank you all for joining the Voice of Global South Summit. Let me also take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we live in an interdependent world & we are all vulnerable when it comes to managing any public health emergency. It has highlighted the existing challenges in health systems, and highlighted the need for a 360-degree transformation of healthcare delivery pathways & infrastructure.
It is need of the hour to focus on long-term measures to build stronger, more resilient health systems that can prevent, prepare for, & respond to future health related challenges, while maintaining essential health services.
India has assumed the Presidency of G-20 this year. As a part of the global south, India’s presidency has a special significance. Our Prime Minister has said ‘Our G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with not just our G20 partners, but also our fellow-travellers in the global South’. It will be our effort to take the voice of the global South to G-20 & other international forums, as partners in our development journey.
Accordingly, India has prioritized its health track to build consensus at global level focusing on converging ongoing efforts, mapping health resources, & connecting them to most deserving areas, so health equity can be ensured at global level & particularly to Global South.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of capacity building of the existing healthcare workforce. This will enable them to provide quality & affordable healthcare at local level, to cater to underserved communities in the global South.
The consistent investments made by India in primary healthcare workforce had paid dividends during COVID-19 vaccination campaign. I am happy to highlight that so far, we have administered more than 2.2 billion vaccines with 90% 2nd dose coverage of 12+ population & 220 million precautionary doses. India’s experience has reinforced the fact that capacity building of healthcare workers, coupled with harnessing digital technology is the way forward.
It is in this context that India has been supporting in terms of building the capacity of healthcare professionals in various countries, through tailor made training programmes. India organised online training programmes for COVID-19 testing, clinical practices, case management, vaccine development & delivery etc. with 1,000+ participants from Asian, South-East Asian, & African countries. India also shared its medical expertise by dispatching Rapid Response Teams to Kuwait & Maldives.
With all its challenges, the ongoing pandemic has also been a catalyst for the growth and accelerated adoption of digital tools.
In the spirit of Seva (Service), India has offered CoWIN, indigenously developed vaccine management platform, as a digital public health good to the world. In the Co-WIN Global Conclave held on 5th July 2021, with 140+ participant countries, India reached out to offer the Co-WIN platform as an open-source software, free of cost to any interested country. India has also offered Co-Win as a digital public health good to WHO through WHO’s C-TAP initiative.
Under India’s presidency, the proposed ‘G-20 Global Initiative on Digital Health’ will prioritize the Digital Agenda & contribute towards bridging the digital divide. This initiative will bring together scientific expertise, collate best practices, develop digital public health goods, support implementation, & institutionalize use of digital tools in health service delivery with specific focus on LMICs. It will promote digital health tools implementation including health data interoperability, neutral data sharing across countries so crucial to provide data driven insights into health programs and aid policy. It will promote collaborative, responsible, & impactful use of data & prioritize the implementation of cutting-edge digital tools like Telemedicine, Teleradiology, Teleophthalmology, e-ICU etc.
India, under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Modi ji has also taken a paradigm shift in terms of promoting holistic health as the way forward. Aligned with this approach, 150,000 Health & Wellness Centers (HWCs) have been established across the country to provide preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, & palliative care covering primary & secondary health services.
Further, India’s civilizational ethos emphasise on not only therapeutics but also wellness as an approach in healthcare. Traditional medicine & Yoga, including Pranayama & Meditation, are India’s contribution to the world in its quest for such holistic wellbeing. India has a rich heritage of medical wisdom derived from the Vedas that prevailed as Ayurveda. Other systems practiced include Unani , Homeopathy & Naturopathy.
Yoga has been recognised as a physical, mental, & spiritual practice to bring harmony to mind, body & soul. Since 2015, the world has been observing the International Day of Yoga with huge participation.
For millions of people, traditional medicine is the first port of call to treat many diseases. 170 out of 194 WHO Member States have reported the use of traditional medicine, & their governments asked WHO to support in creating a body of reliable evidence & data on traditional medicine practices & products.
Government of India in collaboration with WHO has established the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine at Jamnagar, Gujarat on 21st April 2022. The Centre aims to harness the potential of traditional medicine from across the world through modern science & technology to improve the health of people. It focuses on four strategic areas of evidence & learning, data & analytics, sustainability & equity, & innovation & technology.
We would like to work with our partners in the global south to harness the potential of traditional medicine to promote health, wellness, & people-centred care.
Prioritizing cost-effective Research supported by regional Manufacturing networks can aid timely availability of cost-effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics commonly known as medical countermeasures. Creating an enabling framework for clinical trials, R & D supported by harmonization of regulatory standards can support the availability, accessibility, & affordability of medical countermeasures across the world including LMICs. India has accordingly proposed Medical Counter Measures Platform under its G20 Presidency to ensure availability of vital vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to LMIC and LIC.
India believes in Value based health care and is continuously striving to provide high quality and cost effective health care to everyone. Under the soon to be launched Heal in India initiative, India aims to provide its health infrastructure for patients abroad, and make it a global hub for medical & value-based healthcare for patients from across the world. With more than 1.3 Million allopathic doctors, 3.4 Million nurses, and 800,000 (eight hundred thousands) AYUSH doctors, India would help provide required care to patient from all countries including global south. through quality and affordable medical care imbibed in India ethos of Vasudhev Kutukubam i.e. whole world is one family.
As Hon’ble PM of India has said "Our priorities will focus on healing our 'One Earth', creating harmony within our 'One Family' & giving hope for our 'One Future'.
Our interaction today offers as a great opportunity to deliberate and find the solutions for global south in the spirt of being one family.
I look forward for contribution of all fellow Hon’ble Ministers and other colleagues in today’s deliberation.