India attends G20 Okayama Health Ministers’ Meeting

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, attended the G20 Okayama Health Ministers’ Meeting on October 19-20, 2019, and discussed the leading healthcare challenges facing the world

October 20, 2019

India's health minister highlighted India’s commitment to ensure dignity with care for its elderly

Antimicrobial Resistance was acknowledged as a serious emerging threat to global public health

Dr. Harsh Vardhan met his counterparts from Italy, US, UK and Singapore to discuss collaboration

India is on the path to achieve Universal Health Coverage with focussed investment, innovation

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, attended the G20 Okayama Health Ministers’ Meeting over October 19-20, 2019. The deliberations at the meeting focused on four major global health issues:- the achievement of universal health coverage; response to population ageing; management of health risks; and health security management including AMR and its containment. The Okayama declaration, adopted at the meet, endorsed the Commitment of G20 countries to address the major global health issues. 

In his address to the member nations, Dr. Harsh Vardhan touched upon the initiatives undertaken by India to address citizens’ health concerns, for instance, the Ayushman Bharat campaign, FIT India Movement and Eat Right Campaign. Particularly with respect to the focus areas for this year’s meeting, Dr. Vardhan clarified that India is on the path to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and will contribute effectively to sustain UHC at a global level. 

Regarding health and medical care for the elderly, the Minister said the government aims to provide affordable and high-quality long-term comprehensive health care services under the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly. The government was also actively working to tackle dementia. 

Deliberating on health risks and health security, Harsh Vardhan highlighted how Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) is a serious emerging threat to global public health. He highlighted India’s progress and said that in a short span of time, India has implemented a national action plan by establishing a national antimicrobial resistance surveillance system to contribute to global AMR R&D efforts. He insisted upon the alignment of all relevant UN agencies to combat this health menace. 

Dr. Vardhan had separate meetings with G-20 member states touching upon different issues of concern with each.

  • Italy showed its interest in collaborating with India in the pharma sector and India invited Italy to join Global Digital Health Partnership. 
  • With Singapore, the discussion centred around India’s ‘Eat Right Movement.’
  • With the US, the list was more exhaustive with common concerns like the elimination of tuberculosis, UHC, AMR, Global Digital Health, operationalising multiple health data systems and modelling and forecasting for epidemic-prone diseases and pandemics. 
  • UK and India tracked the progress in India UK collaboration in the field of healthcare. 

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