statement delivered by Hon'ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare at the plenary session of 71st World Health Assembly held in Geneva on 21st May 2018.

Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Jagat Prakash Nadda, Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India at the Plenary Session of the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva on 21st May 2018

Mr. President,

Director General,

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to address this august gathering in the 70th year of WHO & 40th anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration on behalf of India.

Excellencies,

At the outset I wish to congratulate Director General, Dr Tedros, for realigning WHO's priorities and highlighting the all-important issue of Universal Health Coverage. UHC is at the core of SDG3 and is one of the most powerful social equalisers. As we mark the 40th anniversary of the historic Alma-Ata Declaration, I believe that, as the global health community, we are better prepared and better positioned to achieve the shared vision of Health for All through Universal Health Coverage.

India today is more firmly committed to achieving Universal Health Coverage as articulated in its National Health Policy. Our successes in sustaining Polio free status and substantially achieving the Millennium Development Goals have infused renewed enthusiasm to meet the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals and its underlying commitment of “Leave No one behind”.

Mr. President,

India has fast-tracked many initiatives aimed at achieving all the core tenets of Universal Health Coverage i.e, strengthening health systems, improving access to free medicines & diagnostics and reducing catastrophic healthcare spending.

To translate our vision of UHC, Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi has recently launched an ambitious programme called 'Ayushman Bharat' i.e. Long live India.

The programme rests on the twin pillars of Health and Wellness Centres for provision of comprehensive primary healthcare services and the Prime Minister’s National Health Protection Mission for secondary and tertiary care to 100 million families covering 500 million individuals. We are reaching out to approximately 40% of country’s population who will be provided and insurance cover of 500 thousand Indian rupees. This will be the largest government funded health protection scheme in the world.

To reduce the burden of NCDs, India has already initiated universal screening for prevention and management of five common NCDs including hypertension, diabetes and three common Cancers of oral cavity, breast and cervix at pan India level.

We have also started a unique initiative called AMRIT Deendayal, an acronym for ‘Affordable Medicines & Reliable Implants for Treatment’ - Centres that provide medicines for cancer & cardiovascular diseases and cardiac implants at significantly reduced prices.

Excellencies,

Digital Health technologies have an huge potential for supporting UHC and improving accessibility, quality and affordability of health services. I am happy to note that this Assembly will be considering and adopting the first WHO resolution on Digital Health initiated by India. 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. India plans 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 Strategy on Digital Health.

Although the WHO has fixed 2030 as the timeline for elimination of Tuberculosis, our honorable Prime Minister has exhorted us to do it five years ahead of target in 2025. In line with this ambitious plan, India is on track for the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis and we have recently introduced supplementary nutritional support for duration of treatment for patients.

India is deeply committed to play a pivotal role to ensure access and affordability of medicines. Following the overwhelming response at the 1st World Conference on “Access to Medical Products” in November 2017, India is organizing the 2nd World Conference in October 2018 in New Delhi.

Mr. President,

India remains fully committed to UHC and in the spirit of the Alma-Ata Declaration, we stand ready to work with fellow member states and the international community to achieve our common goal of Health for All.

Before concluding, allow me to invoke the spirit enshrined in the ancient Indian scriptures -

"Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayah" 

which signifies

“May All become Happy, May All become Healthy” Thank yo

 
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