The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi addressed the 76th Session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland today via video message today.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister extended warm greetings to everyone present and congratulated the World Health Organization on completing the historic milestone of serving the world for 75 years. He expressed confidence that WHO would be setting goals for the next 25 years when it reaches 100 years of service.
Stressing for greater collaboration in healthcare, the Prime Minister highlighted the gaps in the global health architecture which were exposed during the Covid-19 pandemic and emphasized the need for a collective effort in building resilient global systems and boosting global health equity. highlighted India’s commitment to international cooperation and informed that the country shipped almost 300 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to over 100 countries including many countries from the Global South. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that supporting equal access to resources will be a top priority for the WHO in the coming years.
“India’s traditional wisdom says that the absence of illness is not the same as good health”, the Prime Minister said as he noted that one must not only be free from ailments but also take a step towards wellness. Highlighting the benefits of traditional systems such as Yoga, Ayurveda and meditation, the Prime Minister explained that it addresses physical, mental and social aspects of health and expressed delight that WHO’s first Global Centre for Traditional Medicine is being established in India. He also expressed happiness that the International Year of Millets is playing a crucial role in creating awareness about the importance of millets.
“Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, the Prime Minister said as he mentioned the ancient scriptures from India that teach us to see the world as one family. He touched upon the G20 theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ and said that India’s vision for good health is ‘One Earth One Health’. emphasized that India’s vision is not restricted to just humans, but extends to the entire ecosystem including animals, plants and the environment. He said that We can be healthy only when our whole ecosystem is healthy.
Highlighting India’s achievements in the last few years regarding the availability, accessibility & affordability of healthcare, the Prime Minister gave examples of the world’s largest health insurance scheme – Ayushman Bharat, the massive ramping up of health infrastructure, and the drive to provide sanitation and drinking water to millions of families in the country. Underlining that many of India’s efforts are aimed at boosting health at the last mile in the country, the Prime Minister suggested that an approach which works with the scale of India’s diversity can also become a framework for other nations. Modi expressed keenness in supporting the WHO for similar efforts in low and middle-income countries.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister commended the WHO on 75 years of efforts in advancing Health for All. He remarked that the role of global institutions like the WHO will be even more important for the challenges that lie ahead in the future. “India is committed to helping every effort to build a healthier world”, the Prime Minister concluded.