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If There Was SDG On COVID-19 Management, India Would Have Shown Tremendous Success

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman, said that India showed great examples on how to continue its own development trajectory notwithstanding various challenges including that of the COVID-19 pandemic

If There Was SDG On COVID-19 Management, India Would Have Shown Tremendous Success
The report quoted the example of India’s CoWIN app for tracking coronavirus cases, as a great global model for other countries for interventions in health sector
Highlights
  • India got 90% COVID-19 vaccination rate success: CEO Suzman
  • India showed global leadership by manufacturing COVID vaccines: Mr. Suzman
  • The Foundation will build on Indian model for development in healht: CEO

New Delhi: India is a test case and a model for smartly using digital tools to improve development and if there was a UN-mandated sustainable development goal for the COVID-19 management, the country would have shown tremendous success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said on Tuesday. In an interview to PTI, Suzman said India has shown great examples on how to continue its own development trajectory notwithstanding various challenges including that of the pandemic, and lessons and models developed in the country can accelerate progress globally.

He said India’s success in getting over two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine and reaching 90 per cent vaccination rate was a real demonstration to the world of the kind of action that can be taken. Mr. Suzman’s comments came on a day the Foundation released its sixth annual ‘Goalkeepers’ report that noted that nearly every indicator of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is off track at the halfway point for achieving them by 2030.

While there isn’t an SDG on Covid, India’s success in getting over 2 billion doses and reaching 90 per cent vaccination rate was a real demonstration to the world of the kind of action that can be taken, he said.

Also Read: WHO South-East Asia Region Road Map To Strengthen Emergency Preparedness, Response For COVID-19

Mr. Suzman also cited India’s leadership in manufacturing of vaccines including by the Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech and said the Foundation has been having longstanding partnerships with the two companies.

I think in the context of India, which has already shown great global leadership in health and in the response to COVID directly, it’s both an opportunity to continue the focus the government has been making on accelerating progress domestically on the SDGs, but also really supporting some broader global leadership, especially as India moves into chairing the G20 next year, about trying to advance some of these priorities globally, he said.

The G-20 is one of the most powerful groupings globally and India will assume its Presidency for one year from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023.

The Foundation CEO also listed the “dramatic progress” made by India and some other countries in various development parameters including poverty reduction and slashing the child mortality rate. Talking about the knock-on effects of the pandemic, he also referred to a broader set of interventions across health, education, financial access and other tools to deal with the challenges, and complimented India’s CoWin digital vaccination platform.

For example, the CoWIN app that was used and building on the other system is a great global model that we think has potential, perhaps, through the G20, perhaps through other channels, to show how other countries, including in Africa, could take and develop their own interventions for, in this case, health, he said.

Also Read: Nearly Every Indicator Of UN Sustainable Development Goals Is Off Track: Goalkeepers Report

Mr. Suzman said the Foundation is actively working to try and build on the Indian model for development. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO also highlighted India’s strength in production of paddy, especially referring to “faster-growing” paddy that can adapt around climate conditions.

India can continue its own development trajectory, because that makes a huge difference, given the size and importance of India to the global numbers; but then also take some of those lessons and models that have been developed in India over the last few years and share them with other countries to see if we can accelerate progress globally, Mr. Suzman said.

Mr. Suzman said the ‘Goalkeepers’ report is a “real call” to action for the world as work on various development goals was significantly stalled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also talked about the adverse impact of the food security crisis “caused in part by the war in Ukraine, but more broadly by climate change”, noting that it is particularly affecting Sub-Saharan Africa and countries in Asia and Latin America.

And so it’s a call to action, saying we need to redouble our efforts to actually try and meet some of the key goals, the Sustainable Development Goals, and it is still possible to meet several of them by 2030, even if they are currently off track, such as the ones on reducing child mortality and other areas like malaria,” Mr. Suzman said.

Asked about the ‘Goalkeepers’ report referencing India’s women-led self-help groups (SHGs), he said the Foundation worked for many years in India in the area and found that the SHGs are an incredibly effective mechanism for women empowerment.

Also Read: Delta Deadliest Among COVID-19 Variants, Say Centre For Cellular And Molecular Biology Scientists

He said SHGs ensure women’s access to resources and they are much more likely to invest the resources in their family and in their children which leads automatically to better health outcomes, better nutrition and better access to education.

It also often empowers women to take more entrepreneurial roles in the informal and formal labour force and getting better to markets and benefits,” Mr. Suzman said.

The ‘Goalkeepers’ is the Foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).

By sharing stories and data behind the global goals through an annual report, the foundation says it hopes to inspire a new generation of leaders — Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the global goals.

On September 25, 2015, at the UN headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030: end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.

Also Read: Asia-Pacific Region May Meet Only 9 Of The 104 Targets Of Sustainable Development Goals By 2030: UN Report

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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 population, indigenous 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 (Water, Sanitation 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 pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual 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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