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Nations must address barriers to access to affordable drugs and new technologies: India at the UN | India News


UNITED NATIONS: India has underscored the need for the global community to develop long-term strategies and roadmaps to deal with future pandemics and their impacts, emphasizing that barriers to equitable access to affordable and new medicines must be addressed. technologies.
India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Counselor Pratik Mathur said on Monday that the international community needed to capitalize on existing programs, such as Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACTA) and COVAX, to ensure affordable and equitable global access. to diagnostics and therapies. and vaccines, while strengthening health systems.
“We need to devise long-term strategies and roadmaps to put in place a system to deal with future pandemics,” he told the UN General Assembly session on ‘Global health and foreign policy’.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted systemic weaknesses in health systems and vulnerabilities in the ability to prevent and respond to the threats of a pandemic. We need to address the main weaknesses and gaps to strengthen global coordination and ensure that the world is better prepared to curb the impacts of future health-related crises, “he said.
Mathur emphasized that nations must address all barriers to access to medicines and new technologies, including through the use of flexibilities provided in the WTO TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration.
There is also a need to build the capacity of community health workers, who play a crucial role in covering the last mile in service delivery, he said.
COVAX is one of the three pillars of the Covid-19 Tool Access Accelerator (ACT), which was launched in April by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and France in response to the pandemic. COVAX is the only global effort to ensure that people around the world have access to Covid-19 vaccines once they are available, regardless of wealth and circumstances.
The 193-member General Assembly decided by consensus to proclaim December 27 as the ‘International Day of Preparedness for Epidemics’, a day to highlight the importance of prevention, preparedness and partnerships against epidemics such as Covid-19.
The President of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, said that the Covid-19 pandemic had cost around one and a half million lives and showed the dire socio-economic consequences of a pandemic.
“This is a wake-up call, for greater commitment and political action, multilateral cooperation and solidarity in health care, which are essential to support the global economic recovery and rebuild better,” he said.
So far, more than 67 million people around the world have been infected and more than 1.5 million people have died from the coronavirus, he said.
India welcomed the resolutions on the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness and the United Nations Decade for Healthy Aging 2021-2030 presented in the General Assembly.
Mathur told the General Assembly that India had extended medical and other assistance to more than 150 countries to fight Covid-19.
He said the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, administered by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, was working quickly to support projects responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“India has taken proactive measures from the initial stage of the virus’s spread, which ensured that we stayed ahead of the curve,” he said.
Emphasizing that health does not just mean freedom from disease but encompasses holistic wellness, Mathur outlined the four main pillars of India’s holistic approach to healthcare.
The first pillar is preventive health care with a special emphasis on yoga, Ayurveda, and fitness to control lifestyle conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure, hypertension, and depression.
Affordable healthcare is the second pillar of India’s holistic approach to healthcare, he said.
In this context, India launched the National Health Protection Plan two years ago with the aim of expanding access to primary health care service through Health and Welfare Centers and providing insurance coverage for hospitalization of secondary and tertiary care for poor and vulnerable families.
Currently, there are more than 150,000 health and wellness centers in operation, a total of 126 million health cards have been issued and 14 million people have used the treatments under the plan.
The third pillar is supply-side improvements, and the government has taken several important steps for quality medical education and for the development of medical infrastructure, he said.
The last pillar is the mission mode intervention, whereby India initiated the National Nutrition Policy to improve the nutritional status of people, especially disadvantaged groups, including mothers, adolescent girls and children.
India also plans to achieve the goal of ending tuberculosis by 2025, five years before the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals deadline. To achieve this ambitious goal, India has started to implement the National Strategic Plan and has substantially increased the allocation of funds for tuberculosis control. , he said.
“The motto of the Government of India, ‘Together, for the growth of all, with the trust of all’ resonates with the basic principle of the SDGs of leaving no one behind,” said Mathur. PTI YAS

Times of India