India has identified 3 key Health priorities: Health Minister
By TIOL News Service
NEW DELHI, NOV 18, 2023: "BUILDINGH upon the momentum generated by the First Voice of Global South Summit, India has identified three key Health priorities, that is, health emergencies Prevention, Preparedness and Response, strengthening cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector, and digital health innovations and solutions which reflects a continued commitment to addressing the unique challenges faced by countries in the Global South, thereby infusing inclusivity in global health discussions and solutions". This was stated by Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare during his virtual address at the Health Ministers' Session of the 2 nd Voice of Global South Summit, an event organized by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. He was joined by Ministers and Representatives of Health from Argentina, Belize, Chad, Grenada, Guatemala, Republic of Guyana, Haiti, Mauritania, Kingdom of Morocco, Nicaragua, Somalia, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Republic of Yemen, Costa Rica, Commonwealth of Dominica, Benin and the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Addressing the audience, Dr. Mandaviya noted the "unprecedented challenges facing the countries of the Global South" and emphasized India's "commitment to seeking reform of global governance structures to make them more responsive to contemporary realities and global challenges of the 21st century, especially the needs of the Global South."
Underlining the importance of the One Health concept, the Union Health Minister stated that "it is recognized as an effective approach to complex public health problems involving multiple disciplines, closely linking human health, animal health, and environmental health." He said that it is imperative to recognize that the majority of epidemics and pandemics threatening global health, from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) to COVID-19, have roots in zoonotic origins. "Committees of the International Health Regulations have consistently highlighted the inadequacy and fragmentation of efforts, leaving populations vulnerable to fend for themselves. It is also deeply concerning that the ongoing crises have exacerbated unequal access to healthcare and education. Hence, it is necessary to reverse learning loss & transform education and implement the One Health approach, enhance pandemic preparedness, and strengthen health systems", he further stated.
Highlighting the initiatives undertaken by India to address the concept of One Health, Dr Mandaviya said that "the National Centre for Disease Control is at the forefront of significant One Health-related endeavors, implementing programs grounded in One Health as a fundamental principle. India's One Health Program diligently monitors and investigates emerging infectious diseases, particularly those originating from wildlife spaces, with a focus on fostering coordination among diverse groups for early detection and response." He also highlighted the launch of the National One Health Mission which adopts an integrated approach to observe the interconnected aspects of humans, animals, and the environment to monitor and prevent diseases. "This mission also facilitates coordination across various ministries and departments, aiming to achieve comprehensive pandemic preparedness and integrated disease control against priority diseases in both humans and animals", he said.
Dr Mandaviya stressed on the need for a collective effort on bolstering resilience across economies, societies, healthcare systems, education systems and infrastructure. In this regard, he said that it is crucial to acknowledge the central role of women in sustainable development. He also underscored the importance of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) as a promising tool for propelling public health initiatives in the Global South. He said that "digital platforms, networks, and services have the potential to play a pivotal role in tackling healthcare challenges and fostering equitable access to medical resources."
The Union Health Minister underscored that in today's time, collaboration is not just an option; it is a necessity. On this note, he assured India's unwavering commitment to the implementation of a One Health approach as demonstrated by the emphasis on the One Health-based approach in the New Delhi Leaders' Declaration of the G20 Summit. He also highlighted the ongoing dedicated focus on prioritizing efforts to address the critical issue of Antimicrobial Resistance, including research and development, infection prevention and control, as well as antimicrobial stewardship efforts within respective national action plans.
The Union Minister concluding his address by exhorting the delegates to steadfastly uphold our commitment to the One Health Approach, in harmony with India's cultural ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, signifying "the World is One Family" and emphasizing the interconnectedness of all life. Our combined efforts should be directed towards nurturing collaboration, trust, and growth in the Global South, acknowledging the significance of inclusive and sustainable solutions to address the challenges faced by nations in the Global South.