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Union Health Secretary addresses 77th World Health Assembly on advancing health and well-being in WHO South-East Asia Region

Highlights India’s digital technologies and platforms like UWIN which is being utilised for tracking immunisation and the creation of digital certificates for every child

Apurva Chandra, Union Health Secretary chaired a high-level meeting on “Advancing Health and Well-Being of Billions in WHO South-East Asia Region”, a side event to the 77th World Health Assembly co-hosted by WHO Regional Office for Southeast Asia (SEARO) and Government of India, in Geneva. The purpose of the meeting was to strategise concerted actions of Member States, WHO and Partners in addressing key public health agenda in South East Asia Region.

The meeting started with a video on India’s Health Journey showcasing the four pillars of Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Mission catalysing access to universal health coverage for citizens in India.

The Union Health Secretary highlighted the digital technologies being leveraged by India during COVID which like CoWIN, are being transformed to UWIN, a digital platform for tracking immunisation and the creation of digital certificate for every child. He emphasised how India, by being the pharma capital of the world is providing strength to the SEARO region on affordable medical countermeasures.

Chandra also highlighted the BHISM cube, an innovative product developed under India’s Aarogya Maitri Project which is a compact, modular medical aid cube designed to treat up to 200 casualties and equipped with cutting-edge technology that can be deployed during any disasters and emergencies.

Various interventions were made by member states on the need for strengthening cooperation and collaboration with other countries, on issues like vaccination catch-up and vaccine delivery and non-communicable diseases etc. There were also issues raised by other partners such as strengthening health system preparedness for health emergencies, post-pandemic recovery & dealing with the climate crisis, ageing population and compounding mental health issues, decentralization of health issues to provincial and district level and strengthening pandemic preparedness response and Health security.

Hekali Zhimomi, Addl Secretary, Union Health Ministry; Aradhana Patnaik, Addl Secretary and Managing Director (NHM), Union Health Ministry; Dr Basant Garg, Addl CEO, National Health Authority; Arindam Bagchi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva; Saima Wazed, Regional Director, WHO SEARO; representatives from member states of WHO SEARO; representatives from key development partners active in Southeast Asia region and WHO Senior management and Secretariat were also present on the occasion.

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