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Better health for people of BRICS countries

The second BRICS Health Ministers’ Meet held in New Delhi. First day held at Dr. Ramalingaswamy Auditorium, AIIMS, New Delhi and the second day at Banquet Hall, Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi. The first day the Health Secretaries and Senior Advisors of BRICS countries participated and the second day the Health Ministers of BRICS countries took part in this meet.

BRICS, is the title of an association of emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa

The following is the concluding remarks of Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare at the Adoption of Delhi Communique in New Delhi.

“Excellencies,

Ambassadors and Distinguished Members of the BRICS delegations, ED, UNAIDS, RD, SEARO and representatives from UNAIDS and WHO, My colleague in the Ministry, and officers of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, Distinguished Participants, Invitees, Ladies and Gentlemen,

BRICS-meet

In my opening remarks in the morning, I had expressed the belief that our getting together marks the collective commitment of the BRICS countries to embark on a journey towards better health for our peoples and for the world at large.

After hearing from the Excellencies and heads of delegations from all countries, my belief has been considerably strengthened and I am extremely happy to note that in the matters of health and taking concerted actions in the identified areas of collaboration, we are on the same wavelength.

I have also noted with great satisfaction that our delegations met yesterday in an atmosphere of extreme trust and co-operation and discussed in detail the collaborative plan of action in the identified thematic areas.

It is extremely gratifying that, through our deliberations, we have been able to chart a future course of common and concrete action for our common benefit.

Here, I would like to appreciate the valuable suggestions made by my esteemed BRICS Health Ministers by briefly referring to some of the very important observations and suggestions:-

Hon’ble Minister of China has rightly stated that with the intervening round table discussions and meetings, BRICS collaboration has taken a solid step forward and we have agreed to institutionalize the dialogue between health ministers and our permanent representatives at Geneva. He also mentioned that providing universal health coverage to 43% of the world’s population living in 27% of total land area is a huge challenge for which we should share our experiences in building robust health systems. In this regard, highlighting 5 priority areas of cooperation, led one each by BRICS countries, through convening an expert workshop will definitely help and the Delhi Communique would provide guidance for further work.

Hon’ble Health Minister of South Africa suggested that we could change the face of NCDs by dealing with issues of diet, exercise, tobacco products and the harmful effects of alcohol. The initiative of South Africa in forming a health commission to comprehensively deal with the risk factors by involving all relevant stakeholders is a welcome step.

Hon’ble Minister’s proposal for establishing a combined observatory and undertaking collaborative research will lead to concrete solutions. It is also true that we will have to involve sectors like water, sanitation, transport, industry and the like to ensure success in achieving universal health coverage.

Hon’ble Deputy Minister of Russia is right in stating that establishment of BRICS is one of the most important geo-political events of the 21st century. He suggested the task of launching a multi-sector environment for promoting healthy lifestyles to combat NCDs and encouraging households and individuals to choose such lifestyles.

Hon’ble Minister suggestion to use the full potential of WHO as the leading UN Health organization is very welcome. He has also pointed our attention toward communicable diseases and the need to work together on effective surveillance systems’ by sharing our expertise in this area.

Making modern health technologies more accessible to general public and broadening cooperation in clinical trials by utilizing pre-existing data were also suggested.

Secretary, Health Vigilance, Brazil conveyed the importance attached to the BRICS platform by the Hon’ble Health Minister of Brazil as an important forum to promote our common health goals.

He stated that together we can significantly control NCDs through concerted action and cited the example of the comprehensive NCD surveillance system in Brazil.

Acknowledging this meeting to be step forward, translating the decisions taken in Geneva into action, he laid stress on adopting technological cooperation to combat NCDs, improving universal access to health-care and affordable medicines.

Excellencies, Ladies & gentlemen,

In the morning, I had said that the BRICS Health Ministers Platform has now reached the stage of adolescence and is full of energy and enthusiasm.

However, after listening to my esteemed colleagues representing BRICS countries, and noting the progress that we have made during the course of our deliberations over the past two days, I believe that we are very mature in our outlook and have almost attained adulthood.

Here, I would like to mention that while we have considered all the identified thematic areas in modern medicine, we should also utilize the strengths of our respective traditional systems of medicine.

Each of the BRICS countries not only have well developed traditional systems of medicine but are also using these systems in varying degrees in their health-care systems.

In India, we have successfully integrated the traditional systems of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy into the mainstream health-care delivery and have, in fact, set up a separate department exclusively devoted to these systems. We would be happy to enhance cooperation amongst our countries through the BRICS platform.

India has also established a separate Department of Health Research, focused on the development and evaluation of new knowledge and new, affordable technologies and taking them to the people through implementation research.

Our major focus now is on accelerating the pace of development of useful diagnostics, re-agents, therapeutics and prevention methods for communicable diseases such as viral and bacterial diseases, and NCDs such as diabetes and cancer and we will be happy to collaborate in any health research area in the BRICS countries.

Excellencies Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On the successful completion of the 2md Health Ministers’ meeting, let us now work together more closely to consolidate our gains and cooperate with one another, both on bilateral and multilateral levels, with a view to effectively meet our common health challenges and also to provide global leadership in many areas.

With these words, let us now adopt the Delhi Communique as a message of our collective commitment and vision for the future.

I also take this opportunity to thank you all once again for having come from great distances to attend this meeting.

I believe that we have made considerable progress and I am sure that the extremely important takeaways from the meeting will help all of us in the days and years to come.

I Thank You.”

Soon, we would see more job opportunities under AYUSH in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Dr. Anil Singhal

Better health for people of BRICS countries
by ( Author at Spirit India )
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