All the countries put up a valiant fight, with collective efforts to suppress transmission, prevent illness and reduce deaths

The world is on the verge of defeating the Covid-19 pandemic by adopting "a pre-emptive, proactive and collaborative strategy," Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan has said.

"If 2020 was the year of discovery for COVID Vaccines, 2021 will be the year we face the challenge of getting it to people across the world who most need it," he said while chairing the 148th session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board held virtually on Tuesday.

"The post-COVID world will be filled with challenges. To overcome them, @WHO needs to be a trailblazer, empowered to work towards a new vision that allows it to realise its full potential & strengthen health care systems across member nations," he said.

According to the minister, all the countries had put up a valiant fight against the disease, with collective efforts to suppress transmission, prevent illness and reduce deaths ever since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

"Allow me to thank the member nations that despite the wide disparity in their epidemiological trends, we are on the verge of defeating the pandemic by adopting a pre-emptive, proactive and collaborative strategy," he said.

During his address, he acknowledged that all WHO member states had acted with speed and scale during the rapidly evolving pandemic. They had displayed solidarity to help each other on a bilateral as well as a multilateral basis.

"The hard work and determination demonstrated by the countries have saved countless lives amid the ongoing response," Vardhan said.

Vardhan described 2020 as the Year Of Science, when the best of humanity shone through the gloom that descended due to the COVID19 pandemic. The situation demanded setting up of major global collaborations so that scientists could share their expertise, he pointed out.

Governments, businesses, and philanthropic organizations came together to start committing resources, he said, describing the international collaboration that ensured widespread benefits as a "remarkable" effort. 

The biggest success of this pandemic has been the team work and people putting the right outcome ahead of individual glory. Healthcare organizations actually focused on delivering a meaningful goal, whether it was across a nation, across a continent or across a world.

He also used the occasion to remember the brave men and women who had sacrificed themselves in the pandemic and thank those who were continuing to fight relentlessly and selflessly.