Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar addresses inaugural session of 3rd G20 Health Working Group Meeting

First day sessions focus on strengthening the knowledge of evidence-based surveillance and improving the awareness and understanding of AMR, along with leveraging affordability, scale and inclusivity for building manufacturing networks of VTDs

The 3rd Health Working Group meeting under G20 India Presidency was inaugrated by Dr Bharati Praveen Pawar in Hyderabad, Telangana in presence of G Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of Tourism, Prof SP Singh Baghel, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare and Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog were also present on the occasion. Participants include members of G20 country, guest countries and invited International Organisations.

The first day of the meeting hosted various sessions for deliberations on the G20 India Heath priorities. The inaugural session focused on discussions on the health priorities of the G20 India Health Track. Highlighting the need for continuous strengthening of healthcare systems she stated “The threat of pandemics is far from over. The need is to integrate and strengthen One Health-based surveillance systems.” Adding further, she noted the alignment of G7 and G20 priorities, including the launch of MCM Delivery Partnership during Japan’s G7 Presidency which aligns with G20’s proposal of an end-to-end MCM ecosystem, she urged the G20 fraternity to facilitate on-going efforts, citing “Pandemics may not wait for the finalisation of the Pandemic Treaty and hence, the time to act is now.”

Dr Pawar also informed the delegates of India’s proposal a Global initiative on Digital Health, a WHO-managed network that intends to converge ongoing initiatives in use of technology in the global health arena for the purpose of bridging the digital divide.

Prof Baghel lauded the initiative to include prioritising the issue of financing health systems and societies in the face of an emergency, besides preparedness financing by G20 Joint Finance and Health Task Force and the G7. Emphasising on the traditional knowledge in healthcare, Reddy, stated that “Indian traditional knowledge system propagated preventive and holistic wellbeing for all.”

During the first session on “Health Emergencies Prevention, Preparedness and Response”, the key speakers were Lt Gen Madhuri Kanitkar (Retd.), Vice Chancellor, Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Priya Basu, Executive Head, Pandemic Fund Secretariat, World Bank, Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO and Chair, TAP, Pandemic Fund, Keiichi Hara, Deputy Director General for Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Co-Chair of G7 Health Working Group, Japan, Tokio Ozawa, Deputy Assistant Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan.

Kanitkar elaborated that the notion of One Health has been integrated with Indian philosophy many centuries ago. She added that anti-microbial resistance (AMR) features as a key priority in India, hence absolutely remedial measures such as optimizing microbial agents in health and animal, strengthening the knowledge of evidence-based surveillance and improving the awareness and understanding of AMR have been part of the action plans in India. She further added that now the concept of One Health has found resonance in many countries and recommended that improving of AMR is important and increased surveillance and research need to be promoted. She added that ‘India is now ready to act local, but think global’. She emphasised that the pandemic led to the development of digital assets, and data sharing platform with all stakeholders, strong surveillance system and equitable distribution of resources, fostering engagement with key development partners, financial backing are all integral components for future preparedness. Ryan emphasised on the continuity of dialogue amongst the stakeholders and underscored the need for developing key partnerships and network at regional, national and international levels.

Prof. Balram Bhargava, Former DG-ICMR and Secretary DHR, Chief of Cardiothoracic Centre, AIIMS, Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO and Chair, TAP, Pandemic Fund, Dr Richard J. Hatchett, Chief Executive Office, CEPI, Keiichi Hara, Deputy Director-General for Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Co-Chair of G7 Health Working Group, Japan featured as the key speakers for the second session on “Strengthening Cooperation in Pharmaceutical Sector with Focus on Access and Availability to Safe, Effective, Quality and Affordable Medical Countermeasures”.

Discussions in this session revolved around vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics (VTD) as well as building research and development manufacturing networks, facilitating upstream and downstream in delivery of (VTD)s across the globe. Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Bhargava stated that “If Global North and South must collaborate then Medical Counter Measures should be renamed as Minimum Common Mechanism”. Elaborating further, he lauded the innovative digital platforms that were incepted during the pandemic and emphasized that preparedness must encompass human and animal health. He further added that G20 can play an integral role in driving public engagement. He added that India’s Covid-19 trajectory illustrates rapid development of VTDs, manufacturing infrastructure, and world-class research with speed and scale, drone delivery of vaccines, development of digital infrastructure such as Co-WIN that the world can learn from in building networks for scaling and delivering VTDs across the globe. He further added “affordability, scale and inclusivity are key strengths of India that should be leveraged for larger benefit of the world. He concluded stating that “when India is prepared, the world is prepared.”

The first day hosted bilateral meetings as well amongst the G20 fraternity.

Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Dept of Health Research and DG, ICMR; Abhay Thakur, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and Sous Sherpa of India’s G20 Presidency, Lav Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Hekali Zhimomi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, government officials, representatives from the G20 member countries, special invitee countries, international organisations, forums and partners like WHO, World Bank, WEF etc., and senior officers of the Union Government were present.


3rd Health Working Group meetingDr Bharti PravinG20 PresidencyMoHFW
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