Workshop on “Covid-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward” with 10 neighbouring countries
GN Bureau | February 18, 2021
The spirit of collaboration among nations in meeting the challenge of Covid-19 has been a valuable take-away from the pandemic, prime minister Narendra Modi said Thursday, as he suggested creating a special visa scheme for doctors and nurses, so that they can travel quickly during health emergencies on the request of the receiving country.
The PM was addressing a workshop on “Covid-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward” with health leaders, experts and officials of 10 neighbouring countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka along with Indian officials and experts.
Asking the countries to raise the ambition, Modi suggested creating a special visa scheme within the region. He also asked whether the civil aviation ministries of the participating nations can coordinate a regional Air Ambulance agreement for medical contingencies. He also suggested that we can create a regional platform for collating, compiling and studying data about the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines among our populations. Furthermore, he asked, can we similarly create a regional network for promoting technology-assisted epidemiology, for preventing future pandemics?
The PM lauded the way the health systems of the countries cooperated during the pandemic and for meeting the challenge in the most densely populated region with coordinated response. He recalled the creation of India’s Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund to meet the immediate costs of fighting the pandemic and sharing of resources – medicines, PPE, and testing equipment. He also noted sharing of experiences and learning from each other’s best practices in testing, infection control and medical waste management. “This spirit of collaboration is a valuable take-away from this pandemic. Through our openness and determination, we have managed to achieve one of the lowest fatality rates in the world. This deserves to be applauded. Today, the hopes of our region and the world are focused on rapid deployment of vaccines. In this too, we must maintain the same cooperative and collaborative spirit.”
Beyond Covid-19, the PM suggested sharing of successful public health policies and schemes. He suggested, from India, Ayushman Bharat and Jan Arogya schemes may be useful case-studies for the region. “If the 21st century is to be the Asian Century, it cannot be without greater integration among the countries of South Asia and the Indian Ocean island countries. The spirit of regional solidarity that you have shown during the pandemic has proven that such integration is possible,” he concluded.
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