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Union health secy highlights India's health achievements, future goals at WHO assembly

Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra, who is leading the Indian delegation, addressed the Plenary Session of the 77th World Health Assembly of WHO in Geneva.
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 17:05 IST
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 17:05 IST

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New Delhi: India, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), intends to further strengthen the drug regulatory system to ensure quick access to high-quality medical products for all, Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra said on Wednesday.

Chandra, who is leading the Indian delegation, addressed the Plenary Session of the 77th World Health Assembly of WHO in Geneva.

The health secretary started his address by highlighting the similarities of this year's theme, "All for Health, Health for All" with the age-old Indian tradition of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" which means "world is one family", a health ministry statement said.

He stated that under this theme, "India launched the 'Ayushman Bharat' meaning Live Long India to promote Universal Health Coverage by operationalizing more than 1,60,000 health and wellness centres (Ayushman Aarogya Mandir)".

Chandra highlighted that as per the WHO SPAR report, India has a core capacity score of 86 per cent to detect, assess, report and respond to any health emergencies, which exceeds the Southeast Asia Region and Global average.

"Showing significant drop in Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in past decades, India is on track to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets. Today, India is on the verge of eliminating Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) disease and has also reduced the TB incidence and mortality", he stated.

The health secretary also emphasised on the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), which aims to provide over 343 million beneficiaries a health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation, reducing the out-of-pocket expenditure.

With the digital initiatives in healthcare, he stated that "India has emerged as a lighthouse country in digital public goods for global collaborations".

The health secretary emphasised that "equitable access to medical countermeasures should be a fundamental right for all".

Highlighting India's contribution of 60 per cent of global output for vaccine supply, Chandra said, "India in collaboration with WHO intends to further strengthen the drug regulatory system to ensure quick access to high-quality medical products for all".

He further stated that India has a highly trained and experienced workforce in health to bring compassionate care to improve treatment outcomes not just in the country but across the world by emerging as one of the key destinations for Medical Value Tourism, the statement said.

On this note, he informed about the recently issued new visa regime - Ayush Visa for medical tourism in India under the Ayush systems of medicine, the statement said.

Chandra also said that, "India is constructively engaged in the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) and International Health Regulations (IHR) processes to build consensus and pave the way for a framework of global health architecture that will enable us to collectively prepare and respond to future pandemics and public health emergencies".

The health secretary concluded his address by urging all member countries to collectively commit to the promotion of health and well-being as a cornerstone of sustainable development.

"Together, let us move forward and create a brighter future for all", he stated.

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Published 29 May 2024, 17:05 IST

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