India discusses COVID-19 strategy at SCO Health Minister’s Meet

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare, digitally participated in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Health Minister's Digital Meet on July 24

July 25, 2020

Owing to the all-encompassing measures taken by the Government, India has one of the world’s lowest infection and death rate.

At the event, the Health Minister spoke on the rise in testing capacity and health infrastructure during the lockdown and after.

Apart from innovation in medicine, India has made innovative use of information technology in every aspect of COVID management.

India has supplied essential medicines and items to more than 120 countries amid the pandemic, cementing global ties.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare, digitally participated in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Health Minister’s Digital Meet on July 24. The meet was chaired by Mr. Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Health of the Russian Federation. The ongoing COVID crisis was the key topic of discussion. India, with the world’s 2nd largest population, has the third biggest concentration of COVID-19 cases at around 2 million. While the nation has recorded around 50,000 casualties from the disease so far, the recovery rate has gone up to more than 70 per cent. The Government of India has taken proactive measures from early on in the pandemic to stop the spread with a nationwide lockdown as well as mobilisation of essential services to support healthcare and other essential requirements.

Speaking of India’s commitment to contain the pandemic, he spoke how Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi “personally monitored the situation and ensured a pre-emptive, pro-active, and graded response to prevent the deadly virus from spreading.” He explained the steps taken by the Indian Government as a series of actions initiated in a graded way that included issuing of travel advisories, point-of-entry surveillance, community-based surveillance, enhancement of laboratory and hospital surge capacities, wide dissemination of technical guidelines on managing different aspects of disease outbreak and communicating risk to the public. The consecutive lockdowns provided India with much required time and opportunity to build up healthcare and other essential capacities to support the economy.

Owing to the measures taken, India has one of the world’s lowest infection and death rate. At the event, the Health Minister spoke on the rise in testing capacity and health infrastructure during the lockdown and after. India did not have any manufacturer of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) before COVID-19, but now the country has developed indigenous capacity in the past few months to the extent that the country can export quality PPEs. Similar scaling up was also done for achieving other indigenous capacity and reducing the demand and supply gap for ventilators and medical oxygen. He also elaborated on the innovative use of information technology in virtually every aspect of COVID management. 

The Aarogya Setu app and ITIHAS, mobile-based tracking technology for surveillance and identification of potential clusters of disease, RT-PCR app for testing, facility app for managing information on admitted patients, and hospital bed capacities, all integrated on a single COVID portal have been put to use across India. Dr. Harsh Vardhan also called upon all member nations to rise in this time of crisis and mitigate the effect of COVID on health and economy. India has supplied essential medicines and items to more than 120 countries amid the pandemic, cementing global ties and setting an example for the world.