Next health crisis won’t give us time, Covid showed: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the Covid pandemic showed health issues in one part of the world can…

Next health crisis won’t give us time, Covid showed: PM

PM Narendra Modi (Photo: ANI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the Covid pandemic showed health issues in one part of the world can affect all other parts of the world in a very short time, and therefore, “we must be ready to prevent, prepare, and respond to the next health emergency.”

He was addressing the G20 Health Ministers’ Meet in Gandhinagar, Gujarat via video message. He welcomed the delegates on behalf of 1.4 billion people of India, and to his home State of Gujarat.

“Joining me in welcoming you are the 2.4 million doctors, 3.5 million nurses, 1.3 million paramedics, 1.6 million pharmacists, and millions of others involved in the healthcare sector in India,” he said.


The Prime Minister said Covid reminded the world that health should be “at the center of our decisions.” It also showed the value of international cooperation, whether in medicine or vaccine deliveries, or in bringing people back home, he said.

Under the Vaccine Maitri initiative, India delivered 300 million vaccine doses to more than 100 countries, including many in the Global South. Resilience has turned out to be one of the biggest lessons of this time. Today’s interconnected world requires that the global health systems be resilient, he said.

Mr Modi said India is following a holistic and inclusive approach. “We are expanding health infrastructure, promoting traditional systems of medicine, and providing affordable healthcare to all,” he said.

The global celebration of the International Day of Yoga is testament to the universal desire for holistic health, he said. This year, 2023 is being marked as the International Year of Millets. Millets or “Shri Anna” as they are known in India, have several health benefits.

“We believe that holistic health and wellness can help enhance everyone’s resilience. The establishment of WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar, Gujarat is an important step in this direction,” he said.

The holding of WHO Global Summit on Traditional Medicine along with the G20 Health Ministers meeting will intensify efforts to harness its potential, the Prime Minister said. “It should be our joint effort to build a global repository of traditional medicine,” he said.

Health and environment are organically linked, the Prime Minister said. Clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient nutrition, and secure shelter are major factors of health. “I congratulate you for the steps taken towards the launch of the Climate and Health Initiative,” he said.

The steps taken to address the threat of Antimicrobial Resistance are also commendable, Mr Modi said. AMR is a grave risk to global public health and all pharmaceutical advancements so far. He was happy that the G20 Health Working Group had prioritized ”One Health”.

“Our vision of ”One Earth, One Health” envisages good health for the entire ecosystem – for humans, animals, plants, and the environment. This integrated view carries Gandhiji’s message of not leaving anyone behind,” Mr Modi said.

He said public participation is a key factor in the success of health initiatives. It was one of the main reasons for the success of the leprosy eradication campaign in the country. “Our ambitious programme on TB elimination also encourages public participation,” he said.

“We have called upon the people of the country to become Friends for the eradication of TB. Under this, nearly one million patients have been adopted by citizens. Now, we are on our way to achieve TB elimination well ahead of the global target of 2030,” the Prime Minister said.

Referring to digital solutions and innovations, Mr Modi said these are useful means to make pro-health efforts equitable and inclusive. Patients from far and wide can receive quality care through tele-medicine.

India’s national platform, e-Sanjeevani, has facilitated 140 million tele-health consultations to date. India’s COWIN platform successfully facilitated the largest vaccination drive in human history. It managed the delivery of more than 2.4 billion vaccine doses, and real-time availability of globally verifiable vaccination certificates, the Prime Minister said.

The Global Initiative on Digital Health will bring together various digital health initiatives on a common platform. “Let us open our innovations for public good. Let us avoid duplication of funding. Let us facilitate equitable availability of technology,” he said.

“This initiative will allow countries in the Global South to close the gap in health-care delivery. It will take us one step closer to our goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage,” he said.