Dr Harsh Vardhan shares India’s vision for inclusive health at G20 Okayama Health Ministers’ Meeting

New Delhi: Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare attended the G20 Okayama Health Ministers’ Meeting on October 19-20, 2019, held under the Presidency of Japan in Okayama City, Japan.

The deliberations of the G 20 Health Ministers focused on four major global health issues, namely (i) Achievement of Universal Health Coverage (ii) Response to population aging (iii) Management of health risks and health security management including Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) and its containment. Union Health Minister made specific interventions on all of them.

Intervening on Universal Health coverage (UHC), Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Sab Ka Saath; Sab Ka Vikas; Sab Ka Vishwas’ for inclusive health was highlighted along with Ayushman Bharat, FIT India Movement and Eat Right Campaign. Union Health minister confided that India is on the path to UHC and will contribute effectively in sustaining UHC at the global level.

On “Response to Population Aging” Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, during his intervention, shared India’s vision for its projected 20% elderly population by 2050. He conveyed to G20 countries the efforts done so far under National Programme for Health Care of Elderly to provide accessible, affordable, and high-quality long-term, comprehensive health care services to an ageing population. In his intervention he also made a mention of public health measures to tackle Dementia. He concluded his intervention by highlighting India’s commitment to ensure dignity with care for its elderly.

Deliberating on Health risk and health security, Union Health Minister made intervention on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), seen as a serious emerging threat to global public health. He conveyed G20 Health Ministers that in a short span of time India has made commendable progress by implementing a national action plan, establishing a national antimicrobial resistance surveillance system, and its decision to contribute to global AMR R&D efforts. While voicing his concern on AMR, he called upon all relevant UN agencies to align themselves in their endeavour to combat antimicrobial resistance.

During the Simulation Exercise on “Public Health Emergency during mass gathering” on 20th October, 2019, Union Health Minister shared two best practices (i) successful pulse polio campaign in Delhi in 1994 threatened by a major outbreak of Plague during the same period and (ii) the risk communication management to bring down the mass hysteria created by Social media during Nipah outbreak in Kerala in 2018.

The G20 Health Ministers meeting concluded by adopting the “Okayama Declaration of the G 20 Health Ministers”. The declaration, having 52 articles endorses the Commitment of G20 countries to address the major global health issues, as highlighted above and to pave the way towards an inclusive and sustainable world, as envisioned in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Further, G20 members have committed to continue this dialogue during the upcoming G20 presidency in Saudi Arabia.

This opportunity was also utilized to have bi-lateral meetings with Italy, Singapore, United Kingdom and United States of America. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare met Mr. Robert Speranza, Minister for Health, Government of Italy and his delegation. Both Ministers mutually agreed for sharing experiences and best practices on Universal Health Coverage, AMR and research in health sector. Italy also showed its interest in collaborating with India in Pharma sector. India invited Italy to join Global Digital Health Partnership.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare also met Mr. Kim Yong Gan, Minister of Health, along with Singapore G20 delegation. The discussion centered around India’s “Eat Right Movement”. Singapore Delegation showed interest to carry it forward for their population.

In the bilateral meeting held with Eric Hargan, Deputy Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, Government of USA, common concerns such as elimination of Tuberculosis, UHC, AMR, Global Digital Health, operationalizing multiple health data systems and modeling and forecasting for epidemic prone diseases and pandemics were discussed.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare also met Ms. Nicola Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, United Kingdom on the sidelines of G 20 Health Minister’s Summit. Both Ministers discussed in brief about progress of India-UK Collaboration in the field of health care. Both agreed to take forward agenda on AMR, Digital Health and Genomics. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare invited UK delegation to India under the aegis of India-UK Collaboration.

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