Delhi Medical Association (DMA) honoured Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences for his contribution to the medical fraternity and outstanding service and exemplary work during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
On the occasion of DMA’s 62nd Annual Delhi State Medical Conference (MEDICON 2021) in collaboration with Dharamshila Narayana Hospital on Sunday, 7th March 2021 at Hotel The Lalit, New Delhi, Dr Harsh Vardhan was hailed as a beacon of hope for over a billion people during the world’s biggest health crisis in recent memory. The Union Health Minister, who not only engineered polio eradication in India, has also handled serval outbreaks in the past, such as Dengue, Ebola and Plague.
At the event, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “It is a proud privilege and honour for me to be present here at MEDICON 2021 and receiving this award. I have several cherished memories of my time in the prestigious Delhi Medical Association (DMA), which has a rich history of some of the most esteemed medical professionals, not only in India but anywhere in the world.”
He added, “COVID-19 Pandemic gave us the opportunity that all of us come together and put India before ourselves. Healthcare Workers (HCWs) & Frontline Workers, not just in this room, but across India, rose to the occasion and sacrificed not only their time with family, but also their own mental, physical and emotional health for this beloved nation. I want to thank you, your colleagues, your friends & family, and everyone else who gave you the strength and encouragement to serve our motherland during the time it needed us the most.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “We are 14 months into what is the biggest health crisis in our lifetime and almost 2 months into the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive. As of today, we have administered over 2 crore COVID-19 vaccine shots and have increased our vaccination rate to 15 lakhs per day. Unlike most other countries, we have a steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines that are safe with proven immunogenicity & efficacy. Based on the initial results, these Made in India vaccines have shown some of the lowest adverse events following immunization (AEFI) anywhere in the world.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan asserted that today children in the entire world need to be vaccinated against Poliomyelitis only because Pakistan and Afghanistan failed to eradicate this disease from their respective countries, although Polio stands eradicated from the rest of the world.Similarly, India cannot be safe from coronovirus and COVID19 if rest of the world continues to be unsafe, which is why it is essential to curb COVID-19 “vaccine nationalism. If the poor and underdeveloped countries continue to harbour the Novel Coronavirus, we shall not be able to ensure safety for all. A fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine is the biggest need of the hour.”
He noted, “Under the leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji, India, has emerged as the world’s pharmacy, and we have supplied 5.51 crore COVID-19 vaccines to 62 different countries. At a time of global crisis, under the leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji, India has emerged as an example to the world in international cooperation. We are fortunate to have a global leader like Shri Narendra Modi Ji who truly is an embodiment of the mantra ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan added, “It was PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji’s insistence that COVID-19 Vaccines should be provided with no strings attached, and the countries without the vaccine supply should not be taken advantage of at the time of a global humanitarian crisis.”
Looking at the possibility of eradication of COVID-19 in India, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, ” We are in the end game of the COVID-19 Pandemic in India, and to succeed at this stage, we need to follow 3 steps: Keep politics out of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, Trust the science behind COVID-19 Vaccines, and Ensure our near & dear ones get vaccinated on time.”
He added, “The government has already involved private players in COVID-19 vaccination, and if hospitals want, they can conduct vaccination 24×7. My request to everyone is that just like people embraced ‘Jan Andolan for COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour’, they should embrace Jan Andolan for COVID-19 Vaccination and get all COVID-19 vaccine shots whenever they are eligible.”
President, Delhi Medical Association (DMA), Dr B.B. Wadhwa said, ” Dr Harsh Vardhan is the pride of medical fraternity. He has beenthe president of DMA in the past. We acknowledge and appreciate his exemplary missionary zeal in getting India Polio-free. When he was the President of DMA in 1993-1994, he was also the Health Minister of Delhi and he started the Novel Pulse Polio Program which was later taken up by the whole country, and eventually by the SAARC countries. We proudly recall our association with him,”
Dr Ajay Gambhir, Hony State Secretary said that “We have worked under the leadership of Dr. Harsh Vardhan ji in the past during the Pulse Polio program and DMA is now fully engaged in helping to develop the health care infrastructure across the country as well as in the vaccination program. He said that on the eve of Women’s Day, we pledge to work for women’s rights as well as for theprevention of cancer.