COVID-19 bared gaps in global health architecture, need to boost equity: Modi

India’s efforts like Ayushman Bharat or sanitation and drinking water drives are aimed at boosting health at the last mile, says PM in World Health Assembly address

Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi delivers his video message to the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday | Pic: Twitter/DD India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted many gaps in the global health architecture and called for a collective effort to build resilience in global systems.

Modi was speaking at the 76th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, via a video message. The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO).

How India helped

He said the pandemic also highlighted the need to boost global health equity while India showed its commitment to international cooperation by shipping almost 300 million vaccine doses to more than 100 countries.

“Many of these countries were from the Global South. I am sure that supporting equal access to resources will be a top priority for the WHO in the coming years,” he said.

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Modi said in the last few years, India has worked on availability, accessibility, and affordability of healthcare. “An approach that works with the scale of India’s diversity can also be a framework for others. We are keen on supporting the WHO for similar efforts in low- and middle-income countries,” he said.

Be it the world’s biggest health insurance scheme — Ayushman Bharat — or the massive ramping up of health infrastructure, or the drive to provide sanitation and drinking water to millions of families, many of India’s efforts are aimed at boosting health at the last mile, the prime minister said.

Indian wisdom

India’s traditional wisdom says that the absence of illness is not the same as good health, he said, adding that traditional systems such as yoga, ayurveda, and meditation address physical, mental, and social aspects of health.

He said, “I am glad that WHO’s first Global Centre for Traditional Medicine is being established in India. I am also happy that the world is recognising the importance of millets through the International Year of Millets.”

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Modi noted that India’s ancient scriptures teach to see the world as one family.

“During our G20 Presidency this year, we are working with the theme of One Earth, One Family, One Future. Our vision for good health is One Earth One Health. We can be healthy only when our whole ecosystem is healthy. So, our vision is not restricted to just humans. It extends to the entire ecosystem, including animals, plants, and the environment,” he said.

(With agency inputs)