India’s digital health initiative would be adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) as its first resolution on digital health, said Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda.
“I am happy to note that this assembly will be considering and adopting the first WHO resolution on digital health initiative by India,” said Nadda in his address at the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of WHO, here on Monday.
“Digital health technology have a huge potential for supporting Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and improving accessibility, quality and affordability of health services. This is a resolution which should be owned by all of us so as to pave the path for a forward looking global health agenda,” he said.
The 71st World Health Assembly is being attended by delegations from all WHO member states.
Nadda said India is planning to host a Global Digital Health Summit in near future with the support of WHO and hopes it would contribute to WHO’s efforts to come up with a comprehensive global health strategy on digital health.
Stating that UHC is one of the most powerful social equalisers, he said: “India today is firmly committed to achieving UHC as articulated in its National Health Policy 2017. Our successes in sustaining polio free status and substantially achieving the MDGs have infused renewed enthusiasm to meet the ambitious SDGs and its underlining commitment of ‘Leave no one behind’.”
India has fast tracked many initiatives aimed at achieving all the four tenets of UHC that is strengthening health systems, improving access to free medicines and diagnostics and reducing catastrophic healthcare spending, he added.
“To translate our vision of UHC, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched an ambitious programme called ‘Ayushman Bharat’ that is ‘Long Live India’. The programme rests on the twin pillars of health and wellness centres for provision of comprehensive healthcare services and the Prime Ministers’ National Health Protection Mission (NHPM),” said the minister.
NHPM is aimed at providing secondary and tertiary healthcare to 100 million families covering 500 million individuals, about 40 per cent of the country’s population, who will be provided an insurance cover of Rs 500,000 per year.
Nadda also talked on steps taken to reduce non-communicable diseases and India’s commitment to end tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of WHO’s deadline for member states.
“India is deeply committed to play a pivotal role to ensure access and affordability of medicines,” he added.
Following the overwhelming response at the first World Conference on Access to Medical Products in November 2017, India is organising the second World Conference in October 2018 in New Delhi, he added.