Managing pandemics should be a key part of India’s health policy due to the economic impact of such crises, said a union minister on Wednesday at the first G20 Health Working Group meeting in Thiruvananthapuram under India’s presidency of the bloc.
The three-day summit will discuss prevention, preparedness and response towards health emergencies, cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector and digital health innovation. “Covid-19 will not be the last pandemic. The learnings must form the agenda for our preparedness and response together. We need to diversify our capabilities and ensure that collectively, we preserve ourselves in the face of any health crisis,” said Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.
“Pandemic policy must be a defining part of our health policy as any health crisis today leads to an economic crisis due to the multisectoral nature of our interconnected world,” Pawar said.
Pandemic prevention, preparedness and response require coordinated efforts between multiple sectors and agencies. The need is to strengthen and empower communities for health emergencies, she said.
V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, said at the meeting that India’s call for “One Earth, One Family, One Future” is a pro-planet approach, one that is in harmony with nature in an increasingly globalised world.
He told delegates about the “need to align our agenda for preparedness and response together to be able to effectively meet any health emergencies”.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said India, as G20 president, aims to achieve convergence in discussions across various multilateral fora engaged in health cooperation. He reiterated three priorities for the G20 Health Track: health emergencies prevention, preparedness and response; strengthening cooperation in pharmaceutical sector with focus on access and availability to safe, effective, quality and affordable medical countermeasures (Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics); and digital health innovations and solutions to aid universal health coverage and improve healthcare service delivery.