Threat of pandemics far from over: Minister Bharati Pawar at G20 meet

Hyderabad, June 4 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharati Pravin Pawar has said that the threat of pandemics is far from over and called for integrating and strengthening One Health-based surveillance system.

She was addressing the third health working group meeting under G20 India Presidency which began here on Sunday.

Underlining the importance of global collaboration and partnerships, she said “the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted that partnerships are most fruitful only when developed during peacetime and not amidst an ongoing pandemic; and that we need to focus on creating resilient health systems, with primary health as its cornerstone.” She further stated that “partnership we share as G20 members is vital and facilitates in building trust, sharing knowledge, creating networks and working together to achieve meaningful impact and results.”

The two-day meeting is being attended by top officials, representatives from the G20 member countries, special invitee countries, international organisations, forums and partners like WHO, World Bank and WEF.

Dr Pawar also highlighted the need for availability of safe, effective and quality medical countermeasures. Stating that India’s G20 Presidency is working towards building consensus for an end-to-end Global Medical Countermeasure (MCM) ecosystem, following a Network of Networks approach and leveraging existing global and regional initiatives, Dr Pawar urged the leadership of G20 countries to create an interim platform which will be guided by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) process and will feed into the same.

Acknowledging the convergence between G7 and G20 priorities, including the launch of MCM Delivery Partnership during Japan’s G7 Presidency which aligns with G20’s proposal of an end-to-end MCM ecosystem, Dr Pawar urged the global community to strengthen ongoing efforts in that direction. “Pandemics may not wait for the finalisation of the Pandemic Treaty and hence, the time to act is now,” she stated

Dr Pawar also informed the delegates about India’s proposal of a Global initiative on Digital Health, a WHO-managed network to converge ongoing initiatives in use of technology in the global health arena. She stated that “this initiative can enable bridging the digital divide amongst nations and ensure that the fruits of technology are made available to every citizen of the world.”

Underscoring the contribution of Indian traditional knowledge systems to healthcare, Union Minister of Tourism G. Kishan Reddy stated that the Indian traditional knowledge system propagated preventive and holistic wellbeing for all. He highlighted the significant impact of Ayurveda and Yoga across the world. He stated that “Indian civilization and cultural heritage has given us the Ayurveda or the Science of Lives which is a 5,000 year old medical practice. Similarly, Yoga has emerged as one of the most trusted practices to boost both physical and mental wellbeing.”

Highlighting the vision of the Prime Minister to make India one of the new hubs of medical value travel, the Union Tourism Minister said that India is home to affordable, efficient and reliable healthcare which positions the country as a go to destination for medical value travel. He also informed that India is among the top ten countries preferred by people all over the world for health and wellness.

Kishan Reddy stated, “India takes great pride in being a reliable partner in the noble vision of saving lives and protecting livelihoods” and highlighted India’s recognition as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’. He stated that the Genome Valley in Hyderabad alone contributes close to 33 per cent of world’s vaccine production.

Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Prof S.P. Singh Baghel noted that pandemic prevention, preparedness and response require diverse multilateral efforts. “The recent Covid-19 pandemic taught us that only through a sustainable health system a sustainable economy can be built. Effective pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response can only be facilitated through continuous interventions in the health sector at the regional, national, and global levels,” he stated.

The Union Minister stated that India aims to ensure best health facilities, vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for all through the platform of the G20. He commended the efforts of the G20 Joint Finance and Health Task Force and the G7 for prioritizing the issue of financing health systems and societies in the face of an emergency, besides preparedness financing.

–IANS

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