“India believes in value based health care and is continuously striving to provide high quality and cost-effective healthcare to everyone. Aligned with its philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and our philosophy of perceiving health as a service, India has offered Co-WIN platform as a digital public good to any interested country. India has offered Co-WIN as a digital public health good to WHO through WHO’s C-TAP initiative.” This was stated by Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya as he chaired the Health Ministers’ virtual session of “Voice of Global South Summit – 2023” titled: Cooperation to build resilient healthcare systems. The session served as a platform to generate ideas from the developing world for holistic healthcare.
Welcoming all participants, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya said that “it is need of the hour to focus on long-term measures to build stronger, more resilient health systems that can prevent, prepare for, & respond to future health related challenges, while maintaining essential health services.” Highlighting the significant milestones achieved by India through its journey of managing COVID-19 pandemic, he added that “we have administered more than 2.2 billion vaccines with 90% 2nd dose coverage of 12+ population & 220 million precautionary doses. India’s experience has reinforced the fact that capacity building of healthcare workers at various levels of governance, coupled with harnessing digital technology is the way forward.”
Referring to G20 India Presidency, Union Health Minister said “India endeavors to imbibe the requirements and need of Global South in its G20 health priorities. Our Prime Minister has said ‘Our G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with not just our G20 partners, but also our fellow-travellers in the global South.” Dr. Mandaviya further reinforced “Hence, we will take the voice of the global South to G-20 and other international forums as partners in our development journey. Amalgamation of these efforts will ensure health equity at global level & particularly to Global South”. Dr. Mandaviya commended India’s efforts in providing training to support countries in terms of capacity building of their healthcare professionals. The training included COVID-19 testing, clinical practices, case management, vaccine development & delivery for participants from Asian, South-East Asian, & African countries. India also shared its medical expertise by dispatching Rapid Response Teams to Kuwait & Maldives.”
Dr. Mandaviya stated that “under the soon to be launched Heal in India initiative, India aims to provide its health infrastructure for patients abroad and make it a global hub for medical & value-based healthcare for patients from across the world. With more than 1.3 Million allopathic doctors, 3.4 Million nurses, and 800,000 AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) doctors, India would provide required care to patients from all countries including Global South through quality and affordable medical care.” He mentioned that India affirms to work with partners in the Global South to harness the potential of traditional medicine to promote health, wellness and people-centric care.
The Union Health Minister highlighted that since 2015, the world has been observing the International Day of Yoga with huge participation. 170 out of 194 WHO Member States have reported the use of traditional medicine & their governments asked WHO to support in creating a body of reliable evidence & data on traditional medicine practices and products. Government of India in collaboration with WHO has established the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine at Jamnagar, Gujarat on 19th April 2022.
The Union Health Minister added that as a part of the Global South, India’s Presidency has a special significance. Following the notion of Aarogya Paramam Bhagyam” i.e. health is the highest fortune, investing in healthcare is investing in future, India has prioritized its health track to build consensus at global level focusing on converging on-going efforts, mapping health resources, & connecting them to most deserving areas, so health equity can be ensured at global level & particularly to Global South.
The dignitaries participating in the session emphasized the need to adopt an inclusive approach to global health security. Ways and means to develop digital public goods in healthcare, promote traditional medicine, build public capacities and develop regional hubs, and knowledge sharing were discussed. The Ministers were particularly appreciative of India’s Vaccine Maitri initiative as a substantive reflection of South-South cooperation at the height of the COVID pandemic.
The session was attended by dignitaries from Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Royal Government of Bhutan, Republic of Cameroon, Grenada, Republic of Guatemala, Republic of Liberia, Republic of Malawi, Republic of Niger, Independent State of Samoa, Kingdom of Eswatini, Republic of Paraguay, and Dominica.