New Delhi: Speaking at the 149th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) executive board meeting on Wednesday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that all must rise to the occasion to save the powerless and the voiceless amid these extremely difficult times.
Harsh Vardhan, who successfully completed his tenure as the chairperson of the executive board of WHO, said in his address, “I believe that we at WHO must all rise to the occasion, to save the powerless and the voiceless, to see hope in these darkest of hours. This is one chance, one moment to forge open collaborations and reaffirm the fundamental truth that the world is one.
“I draw from the Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam – ‘the world is one family’. We must, therefore, commit to work with the Member States, the organisation and the global community of partners for the efficient, effective and responsive discharge of our public health obligations.
Talking about the pandemic, Harsh Vardhan said, “The time to act is now. This is a time when we all understand that there are going to be many urgent health challenges in the next two decades. All these challenges demand a shared response, because these are shared threats requiring shared responsibility to act. And, of course, this is also the core philosophy of WHO.”
“In such a dire global crisis, both risk management and mitigation require further strengthening of global partnerships to rekindle interest and investment in global public health. One most important task is to drive higher commitments in respect of diseases that have plagued humankind for centuries. We need to conquer the adversaries with collaborations and by supplementing each other by pooling our resources,” he said.
He pointed out that although the WHO is already providing thought leadership to the entire world in the sphere of public health, there is always scope, as well as the need, to catalyse further changes.
“We have to be more aggressive in engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed, shaping the research agenda and stimulating the dissemination of valuable knowledge,” he said.
“Sometimes, we find that there is little willingness for collaborative research. Affordability too is a key driving factor to achieve our aim of Health for All. WHO, along with others such as the World Trade Organization, must find ways to ensure affordable access to such key drugs in critical times,” he said.
The Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, congratulated the outgoing chairperson of the WHO executive board for his pivotal leadership to global health.
He said that Harsh Vardhan has been a true champion of tobacco control, besides being instrumental in driving the global efforts for the same.
Meanwhile, Patrick Amoth from Kenya has been elected as the new chairperson of the executive board of the WHO.