Addressing the two-day 6th BRICS Health Ministers Meet, here today, Union Health Minister Shri J P Nadda said that “BRICS gives us a very important platform to collaborate in healthcare, in an environment of mutual trust and co-operation.”
His Excellency, LIU Qian, Vice Minister, National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), China, His excellency, Dmitry Kostennikov, Hon’ble Deputy Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, His Excellency, Dr. J Phaahla, Hon’ble Deputy Minister of Health, South Africa, Mr. Shripad Yesso Naik, Hon’ble Minister of State for AYUSH, Government of India, Head of the Delegation from Brazil, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO-SEARO, Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General, WHO, Dr. Henk Bakedam, WHO Representative to India, Dr Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director of Programme, UNAIDS, Mr. Yaron Wolman, Chief of Health, UNICEF India Office, India Director, UNFPA, India Director, UNAIDS, and Ambassadors of Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa were also present at the BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting.
Recalling the Declarations and Communiques jointly issued by BRICS Health Ministers and Member States meetings in Beijing, Delhi, Capetown, Brasilia, Moscow and Geneva, Shri Nadda said that these joint statements are our pillars of strength and a guide to our future work together. “Our efforts have found support from our Heads of State or Governments. We are happy at the acknowledgement of the renewed commitment to health by the BRICS leaders as expressed in the Goa Declaration of October 2016,” Shri Nadda elaborated.
Highlighting the gains made by India, Shri Nadda said that India has achieved substantial improvements in human development index and impressive gains in health in the past several years.
“India’s life expectancy at birth has nearly doubled since independence. Under-five mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio have declined by over 60% since 1990. New HIV infection among adult population has declined by 57%. Substantial reductions have been achieved in the incidence of and mortality from major infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoeal diseases” he added.
The Union Health Minister further stated that In 2016 India celebrated five years since the last case of wild polio was reported. WHO headquarters confirmed India’s claim of yaws free status in 2016. WHO has validated the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2015 from India. Cases of kala-azar declined by 11% in 2015 from 2014, and 78% since 2006. Leprosy has been eliminated in 84% of all districts.
Enumerating the areas of mutual cooperation, Shri Nadda said that the threat of Non-Communicable Diseases is dangerous for our countries since they not only result in premature deaths and disabilities, but are also responsible for low productivity, losses in economic growth and high health-care costs. NCDs are also a major barrier to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals relating to reduction in poverty, improvement of maternal and child health, child mortality as well as in control of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. “We must, therefore, renew our resolve and commitment to fight NCDs together on the BRICS platform, through innovative strategies,” Shri Nadda expounded
Shri Nadda urged the BRICS for adoption of the TB cooperation plan. “I would also urge that we agree to create a research consortium on TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria,” Shri Nadda added. The Health Minister also proposed to convene a UN High-Level Meeting on TB at United Nations Headquarters, within the overall framework of Universal Health Coverage and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
A high level meeting on traditional medicinal knowledge was also held on 16 December 2016. This meeting discussed the way forward for bilateral and multi-lateral collaboration on Protection of Genetic Resources/Traditional Knowledge/Traditional Cultural Expressions at International Forum, mutual recognition of Pharmacopeia, practice and practitioners and import/export of traditional/alternative medicines etc.
The Ministers acknowledged the renewed commitment to health by the BRICS leaders as expressed in the Goa Declaration of October 2016, noted the progress made since the first BRICS Summit and resolved to continue cooperation in the sphere of health through the Technical Working Groups and the “BRICS Framework for Collaboration on Strategic Projects in Health”.
The Ministers welcomed the recommendations made in the BRICS workshop on drugs and medical devices in Goa, India in November 2016, including the need for concluding a Memorandum of Understanding on regulatory collaboration with a view to improving the regulatory standards, certification and systems for medical products
They agreed to constitute a working group, to work on strengthening regulatory systems, sharing of information, appropriate regulatory approaches in case of international and national health emergencies and provide recommendations for the promotion of research and development of innovative medical products (drugs, vaccines and medical technologies).
The Ministers adopted the BRICS TB Cooperation Plan and supported the recommendations made by the BRICS workshop on HIV and Tuberculosis, held in Ahmedabad, India in November 2016, including the need for the suggested political, technical and financial actions to address the public health challenges of TB and HIV among BRICS countries.
They agreed to set up a BRICS network on TB Research and creation of a research and development consortium on TB, HIV and Malaria. The Ministers agreed to support the Global Ministerial Conference on the fight against TB to be held in Moscow in 2017 and the UN High-Level Meeting on TB at United Nations Headquarters in 2018.
They also welcomed the recommendations of the BRICS Workshop on “Strengthening Health Surveillance: System and Best Practices” held at Bengaluru, India in August 2016.
The Health Ministers appreciated India for a successful organization of the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, in November 2016.
They also acknowledged that Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) is a serious global public health issue and emphasized the need to implement the WHO’s Global Action Plan on AMR and National Plans in this regard.
Also present on the occasion were, distinguished delegates from Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa, Senior Officers from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and from the Ministry of AYUSH, and other representatives from the development partners.