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India has emerged as a lighthouse country in digital public goods for global collaborations

Delhi (Lokraag). The Union 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 the “world is one family”. 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)”.

Apurva Chandra highlighted that as per the WHO SPAR report, India has a core capacity score of 86% 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 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.

He also emphasized on the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) which stands as the world’s largest health assurance scheme providing over 343 million beneficiaries a health cover of $6000 per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization, 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 Union Health Secretary emphasized that “equitable access to medical countermeasures should be a fundamental right for all”. Highlighting India’s contribution of 60% of global output for vaccine supply, he 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. 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.

Apurva 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 Union Health Secretary ended 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.

Ms. Hekali Zhimomi, Addl. Secretary, Union Health Ministry and other senior officials of the Union Health Ministry were present on the occasion.

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