Speech by Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda, Hon’ble Minister of Health &...

Address by Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda, Hon’ble Minister of Health & Family Welfare at ‘Plenary Meeting’ of the. 70th World Health Assembly, Geneva on May 22, 2017

Theme: Advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: building better systems for health

Date: 22nd May 2017
Time: 2:30 pm to 05:45 pm
Venue: Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations

President of the Assembly,
Madam Director General,
Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates,

  • I am honoured to be given this opportunity to address this august gathering. Excellencies,
  • The theme of the general discussion this year could not have been more relevant. We have, in recent times, seen outbreak of diseases and human disasters in many parts of the world. We know how an epidemic can rapidly proliferate and become an international public health emergency. A strong, resilient health system mitigates any country’s vulnerability to health crises. However, this poses tremendous challenges to most countries. That is where the role of WHO and international community would come in handy.
  • The achievement of health related goals and targets, in Indian context, is a daunting task, considering India’s geographical size, regional and socio-cultural diversity. There are differential health care needs of 1.25 billion people in different locations. However, India remains committed to ensuring quality and affordable healthcare for all. We have made strategic investments under the National Health Mission and the national disease control programmes. We are committed to further strengthening of the Health System.
  • In the face of huge health challenges, we are heartened by our success in making India polio and yaws-free and by the remarkable reductions in Maternal Mortality Ratio, Infant Mortality Rate, Neo-Natal Mortality Rate and the Total Fertility Rate.
  • We have adopted a new National Health Policy in March 2017, which is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goal 3. The Policy lays down the roadmap for various milestones and targets. To translate policy into affirmative action, we are working with the States, Union Territories, academicians and development partners. A National SDG-3 Task Force has been set up with representation of key ministries, agencies and experts.
  • We acknowledge that health and well-being are core pillars for happier societies, economic growth and sustainable development. India is committed to achieveing of Universal Health Coverage. Health systems strengthening and universal comprehensive primary health care through Health and Wellness Centres has been identified as non-negotiable strategies towards UHC. We plan to achieve more than 90% immunization coverage by 2020. We are rolling out universal population based screening for common NCDs. We plan to provide essential Drugs & Diagnostics-free of cost in public health facilities. There is more stress on Quality Improvement in public health service delivery. To address the shortage of health human resource, we have taken a series of measures. We are confident that India would be able to achieve the 9 targets under SDG 3 relating to health & well being for all at all ages. Mr. President, Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates,
  • Diseases and disasters do not respect boundaries. The World cannot succeed on public health agenda unless all of us succeed together. The World must act together on building a strong health system in all countries, with equitable technical and financial support from all quarters. We must harness the nature, traditional knowledge and natural therapies, with suitable validations, in this context.
  • To succeed together, we need to develop compassion and empathy for our fellow human beings in any part of the Globe. We must see disease in any part of the world with equal concern, without any narrow considerations of territory, population, race or religion.
  • Before I conclude, I would like to compliment and congratulate Dr. Margaret Chan, DG, WHO and her efficient team at WHO for successfully driving the core agenda of WHO, i.e. better health for all. We hope that the new DG will also perform in the same spirit of compassion and togetherness. WHO is our best hope and must remain so.
  • I thank you for your attention.

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Speech by Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda, Hon’ble Minister of Health & Family Welfare at ‘Plenary Meeting’ of the. 70th World Health Assembly, Geneva: Advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: building better systems for health
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