New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) must be reformed to build a more resilient global health security architecture and especially pitched for streamlining its approval process for vaccines and therapeutics to keep the supply chains stable and predictable.
In his address at the second global Covid virtual summit, PM Modi, highlighting India’s role in combating the coronavirus pandemic, said New Delhi would extend its genomic sequencing network to the neighbouring countries.
The prime minister, who participated at the summit following an invitation by US President Joe Biden, said India adopted a “people-centric” strategy to combat the pandemic and that it was running the largest vaccination campaign in the world, adding close to 90 per cent of the adult population and more than 50 million children were already vaccinated in the country.
Modi also called for making flexible the WTO’s rules relating to trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS), in comments that came over a year-and-half after India and South Africa pushed for temporarily waiving intellectual property rights for producing COVID-19 vaccines to effectively deal with the pandemic.
The prime minister noted that India laid the foundation of a WHO Centre for Traditional Medicine in the country last month to “make this age-old knowledge available to the world”.
Noting that the pandemic continued to disrupt lives, supply chains and to test the resilience of open societies, the prime minister said a coordinated global response is required to combat future health emergencies.
It is clear that a coordinated global response is required to combat future health emergencies. We must build a resilient global supply chain and enable equitable access to vaccines and medicines, PM Modi said.
The WTO rules, particularly TRIPS need to be more flexible. WHO must be reformed and strengthened to build a more resilient global health security architecture, he said in the opening session of the summit.
India has been pressing for the TRIPS waiver to ensure scaling up of the vaccine production for equitable and global access.
We also call for streamlining WHO’s approval process for vaccines and therapeutics to keep supply chains stable and predictable. As a responsible member of the global community, India is ready to play a key role in these efforts, PM Modi said.
In his address, the prime minister highlighted that India’s Genomics Consortium has contributed significantly to the global database on the virus and added that New Delhi will extend this network to countries in its neighbourhood.
In India, we extensively used our traditional medicines to supplement our fight against COVID and to boost immunity, saving countless lives. Last month, we laid the foundation of ‘WHO Centre for Traditional Medicine’ in India, with an aim to make this age-old knowledge available to the world, he said.
Referring to India’s handling of the pandemic, PM Modi said the country has fully vaccinated almost 90 per cent of the adult population and more than 50 million children.
Our vaccination programme is the largest in the world. We have fully vaccinated almost 90 per cent of the adult population, and more than 50 million children. India manufactures four WHO approved vaccines and has the capacity to produce five billion doses this year. We supplied over 200 million doses to 98 countries, bilaterally and through COVAX. India has developed low-cost Covid mitigation technologies for testing, treating and data management. We have offered these capabilities to other countries, PM Modi said.
The prime minister said the Covid pandemic continues to disrupt “lives, supply chains, and tests the resilience of open societies.”
In India, we adopted a people-centric strategy against the pandemic. We have made the highest ever allocation to our annual healthcare budget, he said.
PM Modi participated in the first global virtual summit on Covid-19 hosted by Biden on September 22 last year as well.
The second summit intends to galvanize new actions to address the continued challenges of the Covid pandemic and build a stronger global health security architecture.
President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa were among the key leaders who addressed the summit.
A White House fact-sheet on commitments from the governments and other partners at the summit said India will continue to extend booster coverage to eligible populations and expand vaccinations to those under age 18.
It said the country will continue working towards complete vaccination coverage for its adult population. With the increased funding allocated for the 2022-2023 domestic health budget, the country will provide insurance coverage for healthcare workers, and increase the number of health and wellness centres, it said.
According to the fact sheet, India will also increase the number of integrated public health and regional disease control laboratories, as well as bio-safety labs.
It said the country is increasing “zoonotic surveillance and will continue to supply vaccines and work on extending a SARS -CoV2 genomic consortium to neighbouring countries.”
(Except for the headline, 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.