Harsh Vardhan launches road map for WHO partnership

NEW DELHI: Union health minister Harsh Vardhan launched a strategic roadmap for the WHO. The roadmap will help WHO to work with the Indian government. It will also improve the health of the country’s population and bring transformative changes in the healthcare sector.

The WHO India ‘Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023: A Time of Transition’ offers several aspects. It outlines how the global health body can support the health ministry and allied ministries to drive impact at the country-level.

The CCS builds on other key strategic policy documents, including India’s National Health Policy 2017. It also covers many path-breaking initiatives India has introduced — from Ayushman Bharat to its National Viral Hepatitis program. Furthermore, it focuses on the promotion of digital health and others.
WHO’s support to the government will fall under four strategic priorities. The first is accelerating progress on universal health coverage. The second is about promoting health and wellness. Meanwhile, the third one is for protecting the population against health emergencies. And the fourth is for enhancing India’s global leadership in health.

Authorities expect the period of this CCS to bring rapid changes to India’s health sector. Apart from it, it will improve access to quality healthcare, especially to the vulnerable and underserved population. The CCS is the first to fully align itself with the newly adopted WHO 13th General Programme of Work. It also captures the work of the UN sustainable development framework for 2018–2022.

Vardhan said the CCS is going to be a “very important document” for India for the next five years.

Furthermore, government ministries and other stakeholders have developed it through consultation. “WHO has been working closely with the ministry of health & family welfare to further the health agenda,” he said. He added that he looks forward to WHO’s support and collaboration in advancing India’s health-for-all goal.
Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO South-East Asia Region, in her message said, “The strategic priorities outlined in the CCS reflect the region’s broader strategic focus. WHO will continue to support India in achieving its objectives. It will also pursue a trajectory to help sustain, accelerate and innovate measures that have produced dramatic advances in the health and well-being of its people.”

“It will likewise continue to appreciate and commend India’s successes and their broader impact within the WHO South-East Asia Region and beyond.”Union health secretary Preeti Sudan expressed confidence that the partnership with WHO will be very productive.

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