Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the joint efforts by the WHO SEARO nations can help in creating a more efficient healthcare system

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today reiterated India’s mission ‘Health For All’ and the various efforts taken by the Indian government to attain the same at the 73rd Session of WHO South East Asia Region saying that this mission unites all the nations.

Speaking at the event through video conferencing, he said, “Our common goal of ‘Health for All’ unites us all, even from thousands of miles away, and this very goal will drive our discourse on regional health today.” He also expressed his wish to meet them physically and safely in the near future.

He said that the joint efforts by the WHO SEARO nations can help in creating a more efficient healthcare system. He said, “All of us who have gathered here today, are in a position to influence and drive more investment into healthcare.”

The 73rd Session of WHO SEARO which is a two-day event is being held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, the session is being hosted by the Government of Thailand. The Session was also attended by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey and WHO SEARO Director Poonam Khetrapal Singh.

Dr Harsh Vardhan highlighted the significance of Regional Committee platforms as it provides a forum to discuss most pressing global issues and also reach a solution.

“South-East Asia Region, with its 11 Member States, represents a quarter of the world’s population and strengthening the healthcare systems of member states of the region will help in improving the state of global health achieving both the Triple Billion target and Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

He informed the 11-nation committee about the efforts made by India to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that India has made giant strides under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The minister condoled the deaths across the region due to COVID-19 pandemic and hailed the joint efforts by the frontline warriors to fight the pandemic. He said, “Collective efforts at the cost of their own safety and wellbeing, have not only helped save lives but have also shown us resoluteness in caring for all in the face of adversity.”

He also highlighted Indian government’s schemes like Ayushman Bharat, The Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Housing for All by 2022, Nutrition Mission, Skill Development, Smart Cities, Eat Right India and Fit India saying that these were introduced to bring a transformation.

“Significant achievements like the elimination of Poliomyelitis, Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus and Yaws as well as considerable reductions in maternal and newborn mortality,” he said. He also informed them of India’s ambitious target of Elimination of Tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of the global target and commitment to eliminate neglected tropical diseases like lymphatic filariasis and kala-azar.

Underlining India’s commitment towards affordable and accessible healthcare, he said the National Digital Health Mission envisages the creation of a digital health ecosystem to enable Indian citizens to have unique health IDs which in turn can actually showcase the true picture and help the government make policies accordingly.