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Harsh Vardhan Chairs 33rd Conference of Health Ministers of Commonwealth Countries

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33rd Conference of Health Ministers of Commonwealth CountriesThe 33rd virtual meeting of Health Ministers of Commonwealth countries was chaired by India’s Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan.

  • The theme of the meeting: “Commonwealth Response to COVID-19: Ensuring Equitable Access to Vaccines and Building Resilience for Health Systems and Emergencies”.
  • Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO and Health Ministers of member states were present at the meeting.

Review about the Initiatives against COVID-19:

i.HarshVardhan mentioned India’s intent to vaccinate the country’s entire adult population by the end of 2021.

ii.He also mentioned the procurement plan of 216 crore vaccine doses between August to December of 2021 and 51 crore doses by July 2021.

iii.He also reviewed the public health response to COVID-19 and the progress of vaccination in Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Ladakh, and Lakshadweep.

iv.Mentioned about COVAX, the vaccine pillar of Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which aims to deliver at least 2 billion vaccines by the end of 2021 and covering 20 percent of the most vulnerable population in about 92 Low and Middle-Income countries.

  • The ACT Accelerator – It is a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, launched by the end of August 2020.
  • COVAX – It is a global initiative co-led by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), World Health Organization (WHO), and key delivery partner UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).

Key points from the meeting:

i.He pointed out that black fungus (Mucormycosis) was notified as an epidemic by all the states and UTs of India.

ii.National telemedicine platform eSanjeevaniOPD has facilitated over 5 million consultations in a short span of 14 months.

iii.He also informed how the Ayushman Bharat program (the largest health insurance scheme in the world) is providing coverage to over 500 million people.

Recent Related News:

On April 7, 2021, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare along with Arjun Munda, Union Minister of Tribal Affairs virtually launched ‘Anamaya’, the Tribal Health Collaborative. It is a multi-stake holder initiative of Tribal Affairs Ministry.

About Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW):

Union Minister – Dr Harsh Vardhan (Constituency: Chandni Chowk, NCT of Delhi)
Minister of State – Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Constituency: Buxar, Bihar)