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There Is Lot To Learn From India: UNICEF Health Advisor Karin Kallander On COVID-19 Program

The country was able to deploy not only the COVID vaccine to a huge number of people but also to use technology to augment that deployment and to be able to better deploy services and track the vaccine deployment: UNICEF’s Senior Health Adviser Ms. Karin Kallander

There Is Lot To Learn From India: UNICEF Health Advisor Karin Kallander On Covid Program
India's Covid vaccination programme is unique: UNICEF's Senior Health Adviser Ms. Karin Kallander

Panaji: UNICEF’s Senior Health Adviser And Chief Of The Digital Health and Information Systems, Unit Karin Kallander, said heaped prase on India’s Covid vaccination programme. Ms. Kallander is currently in Goa to attend the second G20 Health Working Group meeting. The second Health Working Group meeting under G20 India Presidency kicked off on April 17 and will conclude on Apirl 19. More than 180 delegates from 19 G20 member countries, 10 invited states and 22 international organisations are taking part at the meeting.

Applauding India’s Covid vaccination programme, she said the India story is unique.

The country was able to deploy not only the COVID vaccine to a huge number of people but also to use technology to augment that deployment and to be able to better deploy services and track the vaccine deployment, she said and the reason why India was so successful is that there was already an infrastructure to start from. There were national policies in place, and there were data security policies but many countries did not have that so they were starting from scratch, she noted.

On how India’s digital interventions can be replicated in other countries, UNICEF’s senior health advisor said, We have a lot to learn from what India did in terms of creating a health information structure.

Also Read: WHO Calls For Urgent Efforts To Bridge Gaps Accentuated By COVID, Achieve Health For All 

In an interview with ANI UNICEF’s Senior Health Adviser Karin Kallander said that she sees Digital Health as a game-changer in global health.

There are many benefits that countries can get from digital health tools. There are areas for improving the efficiency of care. You can use digital platforms to more quickly reach out with health information and services like telehealth, etc. You can also save time and money by sending patient reminders, making sure that Antonatal women coming from Antonatal care can come in on time and don’t miss their appointments. There are ways to also detect unusual health trends using data coming in from digital solutions like the next hopefully not, but next pandemic. And there are ways of improving the quality of services by providing health workers with the tools that they need to provide more continuity of care and more individual-based health care solutions based on data on individual patients, she added.

On how in recent years digital interventions have helped in reaching vulnerable children and adolescents, Ms. Karin Kallander said by providing an electronic health record, providers can track these children over time and make sure that the right interventions are delivered at the right time immunisations.

There are also ways to identify communities that are under-served by health services using digital health and data to find these communities where children have never been vaccinated and where you need outreach. Also, there are ways to reach adolescents with topics and health information they wouldn’t otherwise have access to on sexual and reproductive health, youth engagement, and mental health. So there are a number of different ways that we particularly can design these for vulnerable populations, she added.

Health workers across the world are burdened with paperwork and report filing. On asking how digital health can benefit that problem, she said that it might be the future in some countries.

It will hopefully be the future in all countries, but not in the foreseeable future. Today health workers spend 30 per cent of their time filling out paper reports. We hope that digital solutions ease the burden and reduce the number of forms they have to report. But replacing these reports with digital ones is not a simple step. It will take time, and it needs to happen when the whole system is digitized, she added.

Also Read: India Saved Over 3.4 Million Lives During COVID Through Vaccination: Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya 

(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 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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