Need to focus on effective health systems for improved pandemic preparedness: Centre

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Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan on Thursday asserted the need to focus on creating effective health systems for improved pandemic preparedness. Addressing the joint G20 Finance and Health Ministers meeting, Vardhan extolled the virtues of investing in public health, an approach already underway in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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

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Saudi Arabia bestowed with the Presidency of G20 grouping hosted the session and Vardhan attended the meeting through video conference. “The current pandemic and the global crisis arising out of that highlights, more than ever, the need for national and global solidarity,” he said.

“Flattening the curve globally will require international, multisectoral 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,” the Health Minister said.

Today, I participated virtually in the #G20 Joint Finance & Health Ministers Meeting,held to assess response gaps in pandemic preparedness & deliberate on the way forward in a post #COVID19 world. #SaudiArabia, bestowed with the Presidency of #G20 hosted the session@g20org @WHO pic.twitter.com/zv7SusRArd

— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) September 17, 2020

“There is a need to ensure that access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines is fair and equitable. 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 our Make-In-India and Make-for the World endeavor and will support fully the development of research and digital capabilities for managing delivery,” he said.

“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. 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,” the Health Minister said.

“India is committed to Universal Healthcare Coverage and in these stressful times, India stands together with the world to realize the shared mission to save lives and protect people’s health, and to re-energize 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,” added Vardhan.

“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 added.

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