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Dr Harsh Vardhan shares India’s vision for inclusive health at G20 Okayama Health Ministers’ Meeting

The Union Health Minister confided that India is on the path to universal health coverage (UHC) and will contribute effectively in sustaining it at the global level

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Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan attended the G20 Okayama Health Ministers’ Meeting held recently under the Presidency of Japan in Okayama City, Japan. The deliberations at the meeting were focused on four major global health issues — achievement of universal health coverage, response to population aeging, management of health risks and health security management, including anti-microbial resistance (AMR) and its containment.

Intervening on the universal health coverage (UHC), Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Sab Ka Saath; Sab Ka Vikas; Sab Ka Vishwas’ for inclusive health was highlighted along with Ayushman Bharat, FIT India Movement and Eat Right campaign. Union Health Minister confided that India is on the path to UHC and will contribute effectively in sustaining it at global level.

On response to population ageing, Dr Vardhan shared India’s vision for its projected 20 per cent elderly population by 2050. He conveyed to G20 countries the efforts made so far under the National Programme for Health Care of Elderly to provide accessible, affordable, and high-quality long-term, comprehensive healthcare services to an ageing population. He also mentioned public health measures to tackle Dementia and highlighted India’s commitment to ensure dignity with care for its elderly.

Deliberating on health risk and health security, the Union Health Minister made intervention on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), seen as a serious emerging threat to global public health. He conveyed to G20 Health Ministers that in a short span of time India has made commendable progress by implementing a national action plan, establishing a national anti-microbial resistance surveillance system, and its decision to contribute to global AMR R&D efforts. While voicing his concern on AMR, he called upon all relevant UN agencies to align themselves in their endeavour to combat anti-microbial resistance.

During the simulation exercise on public health emergency during mass gathering, Dr Vardhan shared two best practices — successful pulse polio campaign in Delhi in 1994 threatened by a major outbreak of plague during the same period and the risk communication management to bring down the mass hysteria created by social media during nipah outbreak in Kerala in 2018.

The G20 Health Ministers Meeting concluded by adopting the “Okayama Declaration of the G 20 Health Ministers.” The declaration, having 52 articles, endorses the Commitment of G20 countries to address the major global health issues to pave the way for an inclusive and sustainable world, as envisioned in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Further, G20 members have committed to continue this dialogue during the upcoming G20 presidency in Saudi Arabia.

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