Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that the current year 2020 has been the year of collaborative action in which countries joined hands to combat various challenges including climate change and COVID-19 pandemic while investing in global public health for strengthening health systems.
“I would say that 2020 has been the year of collaborative action. Mankind was already fighting overwhelming challenges–poverty, hunger, inequality, climate change, pollution, violence, war, disease–and now the pandemic has shaken us to the core. But we came together as the nations of the world because we chose not to be overwhelmed. We choose optimism and struggle to achieve. We choose a better future,” Dr. Vardhan said while digitally chairing the World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board meeting, here through Video Conferencing.
“There is no better future without Health For All. A lesson we knew. and a lesson that we have now re-learned. In India, we bless each other as Ayushman Bhava, which means may you have a long and healthy life, that itself is the essence of life and existence, that itself is the essence of our organization – the World Health Organization – which binds us all together and which is why we are all here today, together,” he added.
The Health Minister said that the pandemic has made humanity acutely aware of the consequences of ignoring health systems strengthening and preparedness.
“In such times of global crisis, risk management and mitigation both would require further strengthening of global partnerships to re-invigorate interest and investment in global public health. I am sure that our constant engagement with each member state, their interface with each other, as well as all stakeholders, will reinforce reforms and help accelerate progress toward the sustainable development goals and universal health coverage with the most productive, efficient, and targeted utilization of resources,” he said
Vardhan mentioned that the South-East Asia Region and India are continuously striving to improve health services, their reach, delivery, and quality.
“We have seen successes in all the Regional Flagship priority areas through collaborative action. We will continue to contribute to regional and global public health issues through advocacy, technical collaboration, research, innovations, digital health, and partnerships aimed at improving the accessibility and affordability of health services and high-quality essential medicines and products,” he said.
Lauding the work being done by WHO, Dr. Vardhan said, “In the last over 10 months of this pandemic, I have observed that the WHO, with a mandate to be the lead agency for health, has done a commendable job of working along with the Member States from the very beginning to provide required technical assistance to support the continuation of essential health-care service delivery. WHO and its Member States across the globe are committed to harnessing this opportunity to build back health systems that are more resilient, and which can meet everyone’s health needs.”
“We are already identifying and acting on the lessons learnt from the current crisis so that together we can achieve more robust and resilient health systems that can promote a sustained economic recovery and a healthier future for people across the world,” he added.