New Delhi. June 30, 2021.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare addressed a meeting with Ministers of Health of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries through video-conference today.

Expressing his delight on meeting Health Ministers of SCO member states, Dr. Harsh Vardhan reminded everyone that it has been more than18 months since COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of international concern and it has shaken the entire world including the most developed nations.

The Union Health Minister noted that “The pandemic has shown that nobody is safe until all of us are safe. This has also highlighted the need for greater collaboration between countries on various aspects of health. Therefore, it is desirable that we should continue to exchange our experiences, learnings, best practices as well as innovations to strengthen our public health systems.”

He added that global crisis is further compounded by these ever-evolving new variants of the Corona-virus and that risk management and mitigation are required along with continued strengthening of global partnerships besides prioritization of investment in public health. “We need to conquer the adversary with collaborations and by supplementing each other’s capacities, by pooling our resources and through enhanced technical support,” he stated.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan observed that this Pandemic has dealt a profound blow to the SCO member states on the health and economic fronts, leading to an extraordinarily high cost of the economy & at the cost of precious human lives. He said, “One of the areas of strategic importance in COVID19 disease mitigation is the safeguarding of the health interests of the global community which is possible only with well- qualified, trained and motivated healthcare professionals supported by a robust policy framework. India believes that besides bilateral discussions on the issue, a multilateral approach which would create an institutional framework for mobility of health workers is the need of the hour. For example, India is currently collaborating with Japan and discussing with the United Kingdom & other countries from the EU regarding a nursing service exchange programme.”

The need for collectively addressing methods to mitigate the global health risk and emerging threats using the ‘One Health’ approach was stressed upon. Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated, “India has started the “Institute for One Health of International Standard” which may be leveraged to have a One Health International Hub in India which will address existing or potential risks which originate through the interface of animal-human systems.”

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