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Dr. Harsh Vardhan addresses WHO on World Health Day

On the occasion of World Health Day today, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare addressed the WHO South East Asia Regional Office here today through Video Conference.

His address isas follows:

This World Health Day marks over a year of battling the pandemic together by the global community. The theme selected for this year, ‘building a fairer and healthier world for everyone’, could not have been more appropriate as it falls on all of us to collectively make sure that our policies, programmes and actions are guided towards a healthier future for all.

It has become increasingly evident that the health of a population is fundamentally dependent on fair access to social goods and services within the society. Health equity and social justice are interlinked.

This past year has brought home to us the need to ensure universal access to healthcare services, spanning from preventive to curative for each and every citizen, irrespective of their socio-economic status.

This event organized today is a joint commitment of this Ministry and WHO towards building a resilient health system which ensures ‘Health for All’

Providing universal health coverage, based upon a strong foundation of primary healthcare services ensures people have access to comprehensive care, ranging from promotive and preventive to treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.

India launched its flagship Ayushman Bharat program on these lines, which has two components.

The first endeavours establishment of 150,000 Health and Wellness Centres to deliver Comprehensive Primary Health Care while also focusing on health promotion, disease prevention, and multi-sectoral actions for social development in which citizens are active participants.

The second component is the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana which provides cashless cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care.

The assurance of access to secondary and tertiary care for more than 500 million of our citizens is a remarkable step towards equitable provision of healthcare services.

We need to take even more concerted and focused actions to address inequities to build a healthier India and on similar lines a healthier world.

WHO has issued the call to work together, collect reliable data, tackle inequities and act beyond borders.

India’s response to COVID-19 and its leadership role in enhancing global cooperation during these unprecedented times is an example of this approach.

We have worked with the international community to respond to this pandemic. The COVID-19 vaccines being made in India are being shared with over 80 countries through our vaccine maitri initiative, a key step towards addressing inequities in vaccine distribution across the world.

India’s ancient philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’ exalts the entire world as one family.

We have always believed in it and our actions reflect the same. As the world increasingly embraces this philosophy, it will expedite our progress towards a fairer and healthier world.

We should not let go to waste the lessons learnt from COVID19 that have resulted in far reaching changes in health policies.

From effective public risk communication to ensuring provision of non-COVID essential health services, to speedy access to vaccines, India and the global community have shown that effective partnerships along with a purposive focus on reaching the most disadvantaged help remove access barriers, taking us closer to Universal Health Coverage.

On the occasion of the World Health Day 2021, I would like to reaffirm on behalf of the Government of India, our commitment to ensure all people and communities have access to quality healthcare services, where and when they are required, without suffering financial hardship and move towards building a Fairer, Healthier World.

Thank you and my best wishes for your great health!