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Affordability, Scale, Inclusivity Are India’s Key Strengths, Former ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava At G20 Health Working Group Meet

3rd G20 Health Working Group Meeting at Hyderabad, where demonstrated the importance of global collaboration for the innovative digital platforms that were incepted during the pandemic also highlighted India’s leadership in vaccine R&D

Affordability, Scale, Inclusivity Are India's Key Strengths, Former ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava At G20 Health Working Group Meet
G20 Health Working Group meeting in Hyderabad from June 4-6

Hyderabad: Former DG Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Balram Bhargava on Sunday (June 4) addressed the 3rd G20 Health Working Group Meeting at Hyderabad, Telangana and said that when India is prepared, the world is prepared. Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Balram Bhargava stated that,

If Global North and South must collaborate then Medical Counter Measures should be renamed as Minimum Common Mechanism.

Elaborating further, he lauded the innovative digital platforms that were incepted during the pandemic and emphasized that preparedness must encompass human and animal health. He further added that G20 can play an integral role in driving public engagement.

He added that India’s Covid-19 trajectory illustrates rapid development of VTDs, manufacturing infrastructure, and world-class research with speed and scale, drone delivery of vaccines, development of digital infrastructure such as Co-WIN that the world can learn from in building networks for scaling and delivering VTDs across the globe.

He further added,

affordability, scale and inclusivity are key strengths of India that should be leveraged for larger benefit of the world. He concluded stating that when India is prepared, the world is prepared.

On the occassion, Dr Bharati Praveen Pawar inaugurated the three-day meeting of the 3rd Health Working Group meeting under G20 India Presidency which is currently underway at Hyderabad. While speaking at the event, she said,

The threat of pandemics is far from over. The need is to integrate and strengthen One Health-based surveillance systems.

The press release said,

Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar also informed the delegates of India’s proposal a Global initiative on Digital Health, a WHO-managed network that intends to converge ongoing initiatives in use of technology in the global health arena for the purpose of bridging the digital divide

Also Read: G20: Third Environment, Climate Sustainability Working Group Meeting Concludes In Mumbai 

During the event Prof S P Singh Baghel lauded the initiative to include prioritizing the issue of financing health systems and societies in the face of an emergency, besides preparedness financing by G20 Joint Finance and Health Task Force and the G7.

Emphasizing on the traditional knowledge in healthcare, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy said ,”Indian traditional knowledge system propagated preventive and holistic wellbeing for all.”

During the first session on “Health Emergencies Prevention, Preparedness and Response”, the key speakers were Lt Gen Madhuri Kanitkar (Retd.), Vice Chancellor, Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Ms. Priya Basu, Executive Head, Pandemic Fund Secretariat, World Bank, Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO and Chair, TAP, Pandemic Fund, Mr. Keiichi Hara, Deputy Director General for Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Co-Chair of G7 Health Working Group, Japan, Mr. Tokio Ozawa, Deputy Assistant Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan.

Lt Gen Madhuri Kanitkar (Retd.) elaborated that the notion of One Health has been integrated with Indian philosophy many centuries ago. She added that anti-microbial resistance (AMR) features as a key priority in India, hence absolutely remedial measures such as optimizing microbial agents in health and animal, strengthening the knowledge of evidence-based surveillance and improving the awareness and understanding of AMR have been part of the action plans in India.

She further added that now the concept of One Health has found resonance in many countries and recommended that improving of AMR is important and increased surveillance and research need to be promoted. She added that ‘India is now ready to act local, but think global’.

Also Read: Jammu And Kashmir Sets Up Special Food Stall “Millet Hub” For Foreign Delegates During G20 Summit

Prof. Balram Bhargava, Former DG-ICMR and Secretary DHR, Chief of Cardiothoracic Centre, AIIMS, Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO and Chair, TAP, Pandemic Fund, Dr. Richard J. Hatchett, Chief Executive Office, CEPI, Mr. Keiichi Hara, Deputy Director-General for Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Co-Chair of G7 Health Working Group, Japan featured as the key speakers for the second session on “Strengthening Cooperation in Pharmaceutical Sector with Focus on Access and Availability to Safe, Effective, Quality and Affordable Medical Countermeasures”.

Discussions in this session revolved around vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics (VTD) as well as building research and development manufacturing networks, facilitating upstream and downstream in delivery of (VTD)s across the globe.

Meanwhile, the third meeting of the G20 Health Working Group (HWG) will be held in the city from June 4 to 6. The third HWG meeting will have a main event and also a side event, with a focus on collaboration on R&D in Medical Counter Measures (MCMs). Co-branded events with the Global Vaccine Research Collaborative and a Joint Finance Health Task Force meeting are also on the cards, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Additional Secretary Lav Agarwal told reporters here on Saturday.

Apart from India, delegates from 19 G20 member states, 10 invited countries, and 22 international organisations will be participating in the third HWG meeting.

The HWG has proposed deliverables, including mapping of ongoing initiatives in health emergencies, prevention, preparedness and response, and the launch of a climate change and health hub to work on the interface of climate change and its impact on health, he said.

The creation of regional vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics (VTD), research and development manufacturing networks and creation of a Global Medical Countermeasures Coordination platform will also be discussed.

Also Read: Maharashtra: Third G20 Environment And Climate Sustainability Working Group Meet Begins In Mumbai

Launch of a ‘Global Initiative on Digital Health’- an institutional framework to converge existing digital health initiatives is also among the proposed deliverables.

During the HWG meetings held in Thiruvananthapuram and Goa in January and April this year respectively, the health priorities were introduced and discussed in detail. He said,

Due to the advocacy created by India’s G20 Presidency in the Health Working Group, we have so far been able to garner in-principle agreement to the three proposed priorities

We would like to use G20 as a forum to ensure that we are able to build consensus on these deliverables and we converge in terms of ensuring that the world is better prepared to manage any future health emergency, not only in terms of decision-making through an agile global health architecture, but also to ensure that medicines, diagnostics and vaccines are available not only to a few countries in the world but globally. The delegates will be taken to ‘Genome Valley’ (in Hyderabad) — home to the ‘who is who’ of global life sciences companies — to showcase India’s prowess in life sciences R&D and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

We would like to ensure that through use of technology, all these initiatives can be integrated and technology tools are made available globally across the world.

Noting that Genome Valley alone accounts for 33 per cent of the global vaccine production, including vaccines for diseases such as Covid-19, polio and rotavirus, he said the delegates will get an opportunity to visit and interact with top companies, research organisations, and academic institutions of the world.

In addition, International cooperation is essential to advance vaccine development to combat emerging pathogens, and the G20 forum can serve as a vital platform to facilitate collaboration between governments, research organisations, pharmaceutical companies, and other stakeholders, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Saturday. He was addressing the Global Vaccine Research Collaborative discussion on ‘Vaccine Research and Development: Building Consensus for Future Health Emergencies Prevention, Preparedness, and Response’, a co-branded event under India’s G20 presidency organised by Department of Pharmaceuticals (Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers), according to an official release. The Union Minister, who also holds the Chemicals and Fertilizers portfolio said,

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of global collaboration in vaccine research and development. As we continue to navigate this once-in-a-century public health crisis, we realise the importance of research to accelerate vaccine development, particularly for emerging pathogens

Also Read: India’s G20 Presidency Worked To Further Global Good, Create A Better Planet: PM Modi

Highlighting India’s leadership in vaccine R&D for several decades, with experience in developing, producing, and distributing vaccines for diseases such as polio, smallpox, and measles, the Union Minister said that India being a leading player in vaccine production and distribution can play a critical role in building greater global collaboration towards this goal. Further minister added,

The development and deployment of effective vaccines can help mitigate the impact of pandemics, and we must prioritise research efforts to achieve this objective

Elaborating on India’s initiatives to boost vaccine production and distribution, the Union Minister stated that the government has provided financial incentives and streamlined regulatory processes to encourage vaccine manufacturers to increase their production capacity.

It has also taken steps to ensure the availability of vaccines in rural areas by leveraging the existing infrastructure of primary health centres and other healthcare facilities, he further said.

He said India’s leadership in the production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is a testament to its commitment to global health security. Minister Mandaviya added,

We recognise that vaccine equity is essential, and we are committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their income or nationality, has access to life-saving vaccines

(With Inputs from ANI and PTI)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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