The recently released G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration reflects India’s focus on improving global health and pandemic preparedness. As part of its G20 presidency, India outlined three key health priorities: building resilient health systems, enhancing cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector, and sharing digital health innovations. These priorities were developed in response to the economic and social disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and aimed at preventing such losses in the future.

India’s commitment to health, as outlined in the G20 declaration, encompasses a wide range of initiatives aimed at strengthening global health, achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and promoting the One Health approach. The collective efforts of the G20 countries to facilitate equitable access to medical countermeasures, promote traditional medicine practices, address mental health, and enhance international cooperation in countering narcotics find emphasis in the declaration.

Strengthening Health Systems: One of the member countries’ primary health priorities is to strengthen health systems. This involves several critical components, including primary healthcare, the health workforce, and essential health services. The goal is not just to restore health systems to their pre-pandemic levels but to surpass them.

One aspect of this commitment is the continued focus on eradicating diseases such as polio and addressing ongoing epidemics like AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis, and water-borne and other communicable diseases. These diseases have a significant impact on global health, and India recognizes the importance of sustained efforts to combat them. Additionally, the declaration highlights the importance of research on long COVID, acknowledging that the pandemic’s effects extend beyond the acute phase. Research in this area is crucial for understanding and addressing the long-term health implications of COVID-19.

One Health Approach: Member nations endorse the One Health approach, aligning with the Quadripartite’s One Health Joint Plan of Action (2022-2026). This approach recognizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. By addressing health issues in animals, plants, and humans through a unified mechanism, they aim to strengthen global health resilience and reduce the risk of future pandemics.

Climate-Resilient Health Systems: In collaboration with Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), the G20 countries are committed to enhancing the resilience of health systems. This includes the development of climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems. As climate change continues to impact global health, the need for sustainable and resilient healthcare infrastructure becomes increasingly apparent. The collective commitment to this endeavor is a testament to its dedication to addressing both current and future health challenges.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): AMR is a growing global health threat. India is prioritizing the fight against AMR using the One Health approach. This comprehensive approach involves research and development, infection prevention and control, and antimicrobial stewardship efforts within national action plans. By taking these steps, the member nations aim to mitigate the risks posed by AMR and preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs.

Equitable Access to Medical Countermeasures: Ensuring equitable access to medical countermeasures, including vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other essential healthcare products, is a cornerstone of India’s commitment. The member countries are dedicated to making these life-saving interventions accessible to all, especially in Low-and Middle-income Countries (LMICs), Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This commitment aligns with the principles of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and reflects India’s role as a champion for global health equity.

Pandemic Preparedness: The COVID-19 pandemic exposed critical gaps in global pandemic preparedness. India actively participates in negotiations for a legally binding WHO convention or agreement on pandemic preparedness. These negotiations are aimed at enhancing international cooperation and coordination in responding to pandemics. Additionally, amendments to better implement the International Health Regulations (2005) are supported, further emphasizing the commitment of G20 nations to strengthening global health governance.

Traditional and Complementary Medicine: India and the other member nations recognize the potential of evidence-based traditional and complementary medicine practices in public health delivery systems. While modern medicine plays a pivotal role in healthcare, traditional practices have also demonstrated their effectiveness in certain contexts. India supports efforts to scientifically validate these practices, ensuring that they contribute to overall health outcomes.

Mental Health: Mental health is an integral component of overall well-being. Member states will work on promoting and improving access to mental health services and psychosocial support. This commitment underscores the importance of addressing mental health as a global health priority. By promoting inclusivity and accessibility, they aim to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and provide support to those in need.

Counter-Narcotics Cooperation: Recognizing the public health dimension of the world drug problem, India calls for strong international counter-narcotics cooperation. This cooperation should be free of unnecessary restrictions and should include information sharing and capacity building. By disrupting the production and proliferation of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals at their origin, in transit, and at destination points, India seeks to address the health and social consequences of drug abuse.

Finance-Health Collaboration: The G20 declaration underscores the importance of collaboration between Finance and Health Ministries in pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR). This collaboration is facilitated through the Joint Finance and Health Task Force (JFHTF). Key regional organizations are invited to participate in JFHTF meetings to enhance the voice of low-income countries. The framework on Economic Vulnerabilities and Risks (FEVR) is discussed within this collaboration, aiming to assess economic vulnerabilities and risks arising from pandemics. Additionally, reports on best practices and financing options are welcomed, highlighting the importance of efficient financing mechanisms for pandemic response.

The Pandemic Fund: One significant development in the finance-health collaboration is the establishment of the Pandemic Fund. The first call for proposals by the Pandemic Fund has already concluded, with plans for a second call for proposals by the end of 2023. This fund represents a critical mechanism for mobilizing resources and support for pandemic response efforts. Securing new donors and encouraging co-investment are key priorities to ensure the fund’s effectiveness.

The commitment of G20 members to global health, as outlined in the G20 declaration, reflects their dedication to addressing pressing health challenges on a global scale. From strengthening health systems to promoting the One Health approach, facilitating equitable access to medical countermeasures, and supporting mental health initiatives, India’s multifaceted approach brings out the interconnectedness of health issues and the need for collective action.

As the world continues to grapple with and anticipates future health threats, the G20 declaration demonstrates the global commitment to building a healthier, safer, and more equitable world for all. By collaborating with international partners and prioritizing evidence-based solutions, India plays and will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the global health agenda and ensuring that no one is left behind in the quest for better health and well-being.

WHO and G20 India Presidency Launch Global Initiative on Digital Health to Transform Healthcare Worldwide

The WHO and G20 India Presidency introduced the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) during the G20 Summit’s Health Minister’s Meeting, hosted by India in August. GIDH, also known as “guide,” will operate as a WHO-managed network and platform aligned with the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025. WHO serves as the Secretariat for the strategy, fostering global standards, best practices, and resources to expedite digital health system transformation.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, expressed gratitude to the G20 countries and India’s G20 Presidency for recognizing WHO’s unique role in this field. He emphasized the need for continued support and collaboration to strengthen countries’ capacities and enhance access to quality digital health solutions.

India’s Union Health Minister, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, highlighted the historic significance of the launch, underlining it as a key achievement during India’s G20 Presidency.

Since the first WHO resolution on ehealth in 2005, over 120 WHO Member States have developed national digital health policies or strategies. While the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital health usage, many countries require assistance in transitioning from product-focused digital health initiatives to establishing comprehensive digital health infrastructure, governance, and policy.

The GIDH initiative aims to unite countries and partners to prioritize investment plans, enhance transparency in digital health resources, promote knowledge exchange, support government-led digital health governance, and increase technical and financial support for the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025.

WHO and its partners have announced substantial commitments in cash and kind from various stakeholders to support the launch of this transformative initiative. Digital health plays a vital role in advancing health outcomes, achieving Universal Health Coverage, and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.







Share This