He also suggested G20 members for an institutional framework to enable rapid sharing of genome sequencing data along with a neutral & aggregate data-sharing model amongst countries
Union Health & Family Welfare and Chemicals and Fertilizer Minister, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya virtually addressed the inaugural session at the G20 Health Ministers meeting at Yogyakarta, Indonesia yesterday.
Indonesia has hosted two Health Working Group Meetings in Yogyakarta and Lombok wherein priority issues of ‘Harmonizing Global Health Protocol Standards’ and ‘Building Global Health System Resilience’ were discussed and deliberated upon. Dr Mandaviya also thanked the Indonesian Presidency for prioritising the issue of TB and One Health in the meeting and conducting events for the same. India has pledged to End TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global SDG target of 2030.
Highlighting the status of the pandemic and the need for systemic changes in health governance, Dr Mandaviya said that “The ongoing pandemic has posed multiple challenges on the health systems across the globe, developed and developing countries alike. The present pandemic has highlighted the fault lines in the global health governance and has brought to the fore the importance of strengthening global health architecture. It has reinforced the need to assess health ecosystems, health financing and their linkages in light of the experience in managing the current pandemic.”
He was hopeful that the ongoing reduced trajectory of COVID-19 is an encouraging sign that the pandemic’s end is near. He said that India agrees to mutual recognition of vaccine credentials including its wider application for interoperability of health data. “A boost to digital health data systems to enable seamless interoperability of data and creation of longitudinal electronic health records within a country and at the global level is crucial.” He further added.
He also suggested G20 members for an institutional framework to enable rapid sharing of genome sequencing data along with a neutral & aggregate data-sharing model amongst countries. This could be done across multiple pathogens with equitable benefit sharing under the framework of the Nagoya protocol.
Union Health Minister advocated for an inclusive, agile and responsive framework for health emergency management, supported by a global mechanism of surveillance, sustainable financing and equitable distribution of medical countermeasures. He said that “G20 countries account for 80 per cent of the world’s GDP and share 80 per cent of global cross-border trade and hence G20’s engagement and leadership will be vital to strengthen the global health architecture and management of any future health emergencies.”
Reiterating the centrality and significance of WHO as a member state-driven process in global health reforms, Dr Mandaviya proposed for factoring in proposals discussed during the 75th World Health Assembly regarding strengthening global health architecture too in discussions at the G20 level. This would help in avoiding any duplicity and create a robust architecture. He also reemphasised the urgent need for bringing transparency and accountability in WHO functioning so as to make WHO ‘fit for purpose’ beside the need to work towards the financial sustainability of WHO.
Dr Mandaviya also stressed upon the need for global cooperation and urged members that “global health resilience must be created by working towards mutual recognition of vaccine credentials to aid seamless cross-border travel, and the need for expanding research network, m-RNA manufacturing hubs and distributed manufacturing of medical countermeasures with particular focus on the global south.”
Emphasising further for supporting the global south and removing inequities, Dr Mandaviya said that mechanisms must be created to support low-and lower-middle-income countries. This can be done through strengthening research and manufacturing capacities, and equitable deployment of medical countermeasures.
He added, “G20 countries must prioritise establishing an ecosystem for VTD research, technology transfers and regional manufacturing hubs, especially in Global South. India will also support this endeavour and will collaborate proactively to develop an mRNA vaccine hub in the global south by extending its manufacturing and research capacity.” This will help the global south to face future health threats effectively.