New Delhi: Inaugurating the 2019 World Conference on ‘Access to Medical Products: Achieving the SDGs 2030’, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan, said, “The discussions and knowledge sharing from this world conference need to be utilized for larger public welfare. We must optimally develop a robust system of sharing knowledge & other resources to practically translate discussions from this platform into action.”
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Zahid Maleque, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, Minister for Health, Royal Government of Bhutan, Upendra Yadav, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health and Population, Government of Nepal, Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health) Niti Aayog and other dignitaries were also present.
Vardhan stated that under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, health has taken a centre stage among all policy decisions and programs and efficient healthcare delivery systems providing equitable, affordable and easily accessible healthcare is at the heart of all our efforts. This World Conference thus takes prominence for all of us across the world thinking about path-breaking technologies of healthcare.
Calling the Conference a valuable platform for sharing experiences and advancing increased access to medical products globally as part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Vardhan stated, “This Conference will spur innovative thinking around issues surrounding provisioning of affordable, quality medical products as part of public health care delivery systems.” He added that medical technologies underpinned by latest ideas and pooled-in knowledge, form a critical pillar of healthcare.
Earlier this week, Vardhan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for improving India’s primary healthcare system. Bill Gates had also reinforced his Foundation’s commitment to supporting the Government of India in its efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goals during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) joined the conference through a video message. He reiterated the commitment of WHO to affordability and availability of medical products to people around the world. Tedros added that with the increasing burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), the need for long term treatment, and the ensuing healthcare cost have increased. In addition, ageing population creates demand for more affordable assisted technologies. Advances in medical technologies every day gives hope to people for better healthcare. This simultaneously increases the pressure for providing affordable medical care. “Through our efforts we shall continue to put people first, ” he stated.
The inaugural session saw the release of ‘Position Paper-2019 World Conference on Access to Medical Products–Achieving the SDGs 2030’, ‘White Paper on Safety of Rotavirus Vaccine in India: Smart Safety Surveillance Approach’ and the ‘National Guidelines for Gene Therapy Product Development and Clinical Trials’.
Access to essential medicines is a priority in the Regional Flagships on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for the South-East Asia region. Following the UN High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on UHC, the 2019 World Conference seeks to take forward the international and national agenda on access to medical products. The Conference is a follow on from the ‘2017 and 2018 World Conference on Access to Medical Products’ organized in November 2017 and October 2018 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. The recommendations made at the two previous World Conferences are being pursued at international and national level by key ministries in India.
The 2019 Conference provides a platform for discussions focused on creating an enabling legal and trade environment for public health which is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 Agenda. The main objective of the 2019 World Conference is to track the progress on recommendations from the 2018 World Conference for access to medical products for achieving UHC in the context of SDGs. This three-day conference has been designed as a forum to take these discussions further for access to medical products on the themes of ‘UHC and innovation’, ‘Regulation of medical products and access’ and ‘Legal landscape and trade-related aspects in the context of access to medical products’.
Also present at the event were Dr Arun Panda, Secretary (Health), Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Arun Singhal, Special Secretary, MoHFW, Nata Menabde, Executive Director, WHO, Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India, state health secretaries and NHM MDs, development partners, civil society representatives, other healthcare organizations, UN agencies and international experts & participants from approximately 40 countries.
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