“We must be ready to prevent, prepare, and respond to the next health emergency”
“Global celebration of the International Day of Yoga is testament to the universal desire for holistic health”
“We are on our way to achieve TB elimination well ahead of the global target of 2030”
“Let us open our innovations for public good. Let us avoid duplication of funding. Let us facilitate equitable availability of technology”

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Namaskar!

On behalf of 1.4 billion people of India, I extend a very warm welcome to you to India, and to my home state of Gujarat. Joining me in welcoming you are the 2.4 million doctors, 3.5 million nurses, 1.3 million paramedics, 1.6 million pharmacists, and millions of others involved in the healthcare sector in India.

Friends,

Gandhi ji considered health to be such an important issue, that he wrote a book titled ''Key to Health'' on the subject. He said that to be healthy is to have one's mind and body in a state of harmony and balance. Indeed, health is the very foundation of life. In India, we have a saying in Sanskrit:

''आरोग्यं परमं भाग्यं स्वास्थ्यं सर्वार्थसाधनम्''

That is, ''Health is the ultimate wealth, and with good health every task can be accomplished''.

Friends,

The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that health should be at the center of our decisions. It also showed us the value of international cooperation, whether in medicine and vaccine deliveries, or in bringing our people back home. Under the Vaccine Maitri initiative, India delivered 300 million vaccine doses to more than 100 countries, including many in the Global South. Resilience has turned out to be one of the biggest learnings of this time. Global health systems should also be resilient. We must be ready to prevent, prepare, and respond to the next health emergency. This is especially important in today's interconnected world. As we saw during the pandemic, health issues in one part of the world can affect all other parts of the world in a very short time.

Friends,

In India, we are following a holistic and inclusive approach. We are expanding health infrastructure, promoting traditional systems of medicine, and providing affordable healthcare to all. The global celebration of the International Day of Yoga is testament to the universal desire for holistic health. This year, 2023 is being marked as the International Year of Millets. Millets or Shri Anna as they are known in India, have several health benefits. We believe that holistic health and wellness can help enhance everyone's resilience. The establishment of WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar, Gujarat is an important step in this direction. And, the holding of WHO Global Summit on Traditional Medicine along with G20 Health Ministers meeting will intensify efforts to harness its potential. It should be our joint effort to build a global repository of traditional medicine.

Friends,

Health and the environment are organically linked. Clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient nutrition, and secure shelter are major factors of health. I congratulate you for the steps taken towards the launch of the Climate and Health Initiative. The steps taken to address the threat of Anti-Microbial Resistance are also commendable. AMR is a grave risk to global public health and all pharmaceutical advancements so far. I am also glad that the G20 Health Working Group has prioritized ''One Health''. Our vision of ''One Earth, One Health'' envisages good health for the entire ecosystem - for humans, animals, plants, and the environment. This integrated view carries Gandhiji's message of not leaving anyone behind.

Friends,

Public participation is a key factor in the success of health initiatives. It was one of the main reasons for the success of our leprosy eradication campaign. Our ambitious programme on TB elimination also encourages public participation. We have called upon the people of the country to become नि-क्षय मित्र, or ''Friends for eradication of TB''. Under this, nearly 1 million patients have been adopted by citizens. Now, we are on our way to achieve TB elimination well ahead of the global target of 2030.

Friends,

Digital solutions and innovations are a useful means to make our efforts equitable and inclusive. Patients from far and wide can receive quality care through tele-medicine. India's national platform, e-Sanjeevani, has facilitated 140 million tele-health consultations to date. India's COWIN platform successfully facilitated the largest vaccination drive in human history. It managed the delivery of more than 2.4 billion vaccine doses, and real-time availability of globally verifiable vaccination certificates. The Global Initiative on Digital Health will bring together various digital health initiatives on a common platform. Let us open our innovations for public good. Let us avoid duplication of funding. Let us facilitate equitable availability of technology. This initiative will allow countries in the Global South to close the gap in health-care delivery. It will take us one step closer to our goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage.

Friends,

I conclude with an ancient Indian wish for humanity: सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः, सर्वे सन्तु निरामयः That is, 'May all be happy, may all be free from illness'. I wish you success in your deliberations.

Thank you!

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