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Dr Harsh Vardhan participates in the 32nd Commonwealth Health Ministers’ meeting through video conferencing

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Highlights the timely, graded and proactive measures taken by India towards COVID-19 management

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare participated in the 32nd Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting through Video Conference, in New Delhi.  The theme of the meeting was- Delivering a co-ordinated Commonwealth COVID-19 response.

The statement of the Union Health Minister made as part of the intervention at the global meeting is as follows:

Dr Vardhan said, “At the outset, while ‘Delivering a co-ordinated Commonwealth COVID-19 response’, I wish to express my deepest condolences and concern at the loss of lives due to COVID-19. We acknowledge the tremendous contribution of the numerous frontline health service providers as well as other civic bodies in saving precious lives. India undertook COVID-19 management with the highest level of political commitment by our Prime Minister Shri Narenda Modi under whose guidance, our response to COVID-19 has been pro-active, pre-emptive and graded.”

He added, “India took all necessary and timely steps including surveillance at points of entry, evacuation of our nationals abroad, surveillance in community through disease surveillance network, health infrastructure strengthening, training and capacity building of health staff, risk communication and community involvement as part of its management efforts.”

Dr Vardhan further mentioned, “In implementing the world’s largest lockdown to prevent the spread of this pandemic, we are aiming to protect lives by mitigating the explosive growth of the disease and by ensuring that our healthcare system is able to cope up with the growth of the disease. At the same time, we are also mindful of saving lives as well as livelihoods and are therefore keeping all essential services out of the purview of the lockdown.”

He further said, “Our Prime Minister has announced an economic package of more than $265 billion to support economic recovery as well to support vulnerable segments of our population. We are gradually easing the restrictions especially in areas where we have managed to contain the disease. It is critical to build and strengthen core capacities of developing countries particularly the least developed countries for future preparedness, response and resilience. India has been the first country to urge consolidated global action to fight the challenge of COVID-19. We convened a meeting of SAARC leaders in our region in mid-March in which the need for “coming together, not growing apart; collaboration not confusion; and preparation, not panic”, was underlined. These are the elements that signify India’s response to this crisis.”

The health minister said, “India has provided essential medicines such as hydroxychloroquine to almost 100 needy countries, extending solidarity and support during this time of crisis. It is important to work on the causes of the pandemic and discover drugs and vaccines to control transmission and prevent recurrence. It is important to facilitate universal and affordable access to all relevant medical products and technologies, both existing and new. These should be made available in a fair and equitable manner to tackle COVID-19.”

Indian scientists are working on discovery of vaccine,drugs as well as development of cost-effective diagnostic kits and various life-saving equipment with the active support of the Government of India.

He also mentioned, “We need to mutually support and share our best practices and explore innovative ways to address new threats and challenges in the post COVID era.”

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