On February 18, 2021, India organized a virtual workshop on “Covid-19 Management: Experience, good practices and way forward” for health officials and experts from the eight members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Mauritius and Seychelles. It was chaired by India’s health secretary Rajesh Bhushan.Prime Minister (PM), Narendra Modi, addressed the workshop.
- The SAARC members include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.
- While addressing the workshop, PM proposed five measures to cope with future medical emergencies for the countries in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
- The key measure includes creating a special visa scheme for doctors and nurses so that medical personnel can travel quickly within the region during health emergencies.
–There should be coordination among civil aviation ministries on a regional air ambulance agreement for medical contingencies.
–Creation of regional platform for studies on forecasting future pandemics.
–Creation of a regional network for promoting technology assisted epidemiology.
–He also recalled the creation of COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to meet the immediate costs of fighting the pandemic and sharing of resources – medicines, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment Kit), and testing equipment.
–Notably, all countries including Pakistan accepted the measures and proposed a discussion on the same to take them forward.
Recent Related News:
i.On November 18, 2020, the Ministerial meeting of the Global Prevention Coalition (GPC) for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Prevention 2020 was virtually hosted by UNAIDS (United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) and UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) on behalf of the HIV GPC.
ii.On January 5, 2021, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Harsh Vardhan virtually inaugurated the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) Laboratory at the Translational Health Science & Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad. This is the 1st of its Kind in India & one of the Seven labs of the Global network.
About South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC):
Secretary General– Esala Ruwan Weerakoon (Sri Lanka)
Headquarter– Kathmandu, Nepal
Current Chair– Nepal
Till date India held its chairmanship for 3 times i.e. in 1986-87, 1995-1997, and 2007-2008