India’s G20 Presidency has revolved around the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the world is one family. Nowhere is this more important than in the field of global health as the pandemic taught us ‘No one is safe until everyone is safe’.” This was stated by Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare while addressing the G20 Deputies’ Meeting here today, ahead of the G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting starting from tomorrow. Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog was also present.
The Union Minister underlined the crucial deliberations that have been taking place in the Health Working Groups of India’s G20 Presidency. Noting that the first priority addressing Health Emergencies Prevention Preparedness and Response (HEPPR) has been a core priority in every G20 Health Working Group since inception, she stated that the “Indian G20 Presidency has put special focus on the critical threats of One Health, AMR (Anti-microbial resistance), and Climate Change”.
“The second priority on addressing the need to ensure equitable access to affordable medical countermeasures highlights the need to establish a global MCM (medical countermeasures) coordination platform that envisions the establishment of R&D and manufacturing networks across the globe. This will enable access to quality and affordable vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (VTDs), especially for the most vulnerable around the world, particularly those in the Global South”, she said.
On the development and use of digital health innovations and solutions which is the third health priority under India’s G20 Presidency, Dr Pawar highlighted that “the Global Initiative for Digital Health (GIDH) has been envisaged to have a convergent approach that breaks the silos and ensures that existing and ongoing digital health efforts can be made accessible under one umbrella”. “It is an ambitious goal and with your support and your guidance, GIDH has the potential to be a pioneering example of high-level international cooperation that directly benefits the world”, she stated.
Noting that the crucial task of ensuring all the hard work and incredible efforts during the Indian G20 presidency comes to fulfillment today, Dr Pawar encouraged the delegates on their discussions. She stated, “the declaration that you will be finalizing today will be the culmination of deep and informed discussion that has taken place over 3 working group meetings and countless bilateral and multilateral meetings”.
The Union Minister further stated that “addressing inequality in access to healthcare is at the core of all our efforts under this G20 presidency. The three priorities and their related deliverables have the potential to make global healthcare services more accessible and affordable, especially for people in vulnerable situations and those in low-and middle-income countries”.
Shri Sudhansh Pant, Union Health Secretary highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in rapid development of ad-hoc global mechanisms to address the imperative need to prevent the pandemic from worsening and to plan for future pandemics. This however led to considerable duplication of effort and fragmentation. “Therefore, India’s G20 Presidency since the beginning emphasized the need for convergence of efforts in the HEPPR space as a major priority to aid in creating a converged and agile Global Health Architecture”, he stated.
The Union Health Secretary stated that India’s G20 Health Working Groups and the 14 co-branded events arranged alongside covered the pressing health concerns in the world. He also noted that the discussions in the last three Health Working Groups got us closer to our mutual goal of building a convergent global health architecture.
Members of the Troika from Indonesia and Brazil commended the Indian Presidency for prioritizing the key health challenges in the world today. They recommended collaboration on adopting a multi-sectoral approach and investing in better health systems. They also underlined the need for efficient decision-making arrangements in the interim Medical Countermeasures mechanism, including effective representation of LMICs (Lower and Middle Income Countries).
Dr Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Dept. of Health Research & DG ICMR; Shri Abhay Thakur, India’s G20 Presidency Sous Sherpa & Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and Shri Lav Agarwal, India’s G20 Presidency Health Track Focal Point & Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare were also present in the meeting.