Need to focus on creating effective health systems for improved pandemic preparedness: Harsh Vardhan at G20 meet

PTI

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Flattening the COVID-19 curve globally will require international, multi-sectoral collaborative efforts so that health systems have sufficient capacities to address the flux of complicated cases, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday, laying stress on the need for creating effective health systems for improved pandemic preparedness.

These remarks were made by Harsh Vardhan at the Joint G20 Finance and Health Ministers Meeting through video conference on Thursday, the health ministry said in a statement.

The minister extolled the virtues of investing in public health, an approach already underway in India.

Addressing the meet, Harsh Vardhan said current pandemic and the global crisis arising out of that highlights, more than ever, the need for national and global solidarity.

“Flattening the curve globally will require international, multi-sectoral collaborative efforts to ensure that health systems across the world are able to maintain sufficient capacity to address the flux of complicated COVID-19 cases and protect the vulnerable and elderly in the world population,” he said.

“We need to focus on creating effective health systems for improved pandemic preparedness,” Harsh Vardhan said, underlining while all the other action plans are a response to a pandemic, a well-developed healthcare system can support even in containing the pandemic.

There is a need to ensure that access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines is fair and equitable, he said and stressed that “access to protection should not be a factor of ability to pay”.

India with a history of frugal and quality manufacturing will continue to play its role through “Make-In-India and Make-for the World endeavour” and will support fully the development of research and digital capabilities for managing delivery.

“We all need to capitalize on existing programs such as the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), and ensure equitable global access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, while strengthening health systems,” Harsh Vardhan said.

Inspired by experiences of previous outbreaks such as SARS in 2003 and Ebola in 2014 2015, global solidarity is a must in order to prevent further morbidity and mortality. Examples in leadership and collaborations should be celebrated as examples to follow.

Open communication and transparency will be crucial in monitoring the evolution of the disease in the global effort of flattening the curve, he emphasised.

India is committed to universal healthcare coverage and in these stressful times, India stands together with the world to realise the shared mission to save lives and protect people’s health, and to re-energise the global economy at the earliest.

“This is also a time for decisive public health leadership and for preparing for future waves and the post-COVID-19 era,” Harsh Vardhan said.

“Public health leaders must look beyond borders. Only by learning from the global experience in our battle against a virus that respects no borders, can we honour the lives already lost and implement life-saving measures for current and future patients,” he said.