New Delhi: Shri. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare chaired the closing ceremony of 2019 World Conference on Access to Medical Products, along with Mr. Zahid Maleque, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Ms. Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, Minister for Health, Royal Government of Bhutan, Dr. Arun Panda, Secretary I/C, MoHFW, Mr. Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, AYUSH, Ms. Shubra Singh, Chairperson, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), Dr. Henk Bekedam, WHO representative to India and Ms. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and MD, Biocon Ltd., here today.
Shri. Ashwini K Choubey said that India has always been a health aware country as we have always believed in the ‘panchtatva’ (agni, jal vaayu, prithvi and aakash) that make up the universal space around us all. “India has played a leadership role regarding health issues, and now under leadership of our Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi ji, we are leading global efforts in addressing challenges of the public health sector”, he added. Shri. Choubey also stated that India is the leader of the global pharmaceutical industry and generic medicines. He highlighted the ambitious program in public health, “Ayushman Bharat rolled out across the country with its two pillars i.e. Health & Wellness Centres (HWCs) & Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojna (PMJAY), is contributing towards reducing catastrophic out of pocket expenditure and expanding Universal Health Coverage (UHC)”. He further stated that with NHP 2017 India has given priority to preventive, promotive and affordable healthcare.
Dr. Arun Panda addressed the gathering by saying that innovation, research and gains in information technology lead to more affordable and accessible healthcare. He said, “I would like to define ACCESS as – Awareness, Civilians, Control (regulatory), Entrepreneurs (manufacturers), Standards, Sustainability”. He appreciated the important issues that were discussed through the platform of this conference and reiterated MoHFWs commitment to host it next year from 23rd to 25th September, 2020.
Also present at the closing ceremony, Mr. Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, appreciated MoHFW efforts for organizing the world conference to discuss pertinent and contemporary issues surrounding accessibility, affordability and viability of medical products.
Dr. Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India, called India the pharmacy of the world, not just for vaccines and generic drugs but now also for medical devices. “I appreciate the regulatory framework that is followed in India and I applaud the fact that now India has launched the biggest hepatitis B program in the under-developed world”. Dr. Bekedam also highlighted how the Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY) is reducing the out of pocket expenditure of the people and providing cashless tertiary care.
Also present at the event were other senior officers from MoHFW, State Health Secretaries and NHM MDs, Development Partners; Civil Society representatives, other healthcare organizations, UN agencies and international experts/participants from several countries.