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India’s participation in the video conference of SAARC Health Ministers on COVID-19 hosted by Pakistan

April 23, 2020

At the video conference of SAARC Health Ministers on COVID-19 hosted by Pakistan on 23 April 2020, India was represented by Director General of Health Services, assisted by experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and Indian Council of Medical Research. Most SAARC countries were represented at the official level.

This event followed India’s earlier initiative of hosting a video conference of senior health professionals on 26 March 2020, which had proved to be a productive and outcome-oriented exercise to promote greater regional cooperation against Covid-19.

On India’s part, building on the briefing made at the March 26 video conference, a detailed account was presented on India’s comprehensive response to the current Covid-19 situation, including India stepping up production of essential materials and medicines and enhancing capabilities in research on drugs and vaccines. At the meeting, India also highlighted the successful use and promising future of new and innovative technology-based solutions such as the mobile app ‘Aarogya Setu’ to maximize community outreach and intervention.

The sentiment of cooperation and solidarity in the region intensified by Prime Minister Modi’s video conference with SAARC Leaders on 15 March 2020 has led to much progress in the fight against Covid-19 through a series of concrete follow-up measures aimed at easing the suffering of the people in the region. The setting up and use of SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund, creation of a dedicated website developed by SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC-IU) Gandhinagar and promotion of stand-alone networking of health and trade officials for their interaction in real time are among the visible practical steps.

India has developed an electronic platform, namely ‘SAARC COVID19 Information Exchange Platform (COINEX)’ for use by all SAARC countries. As the next major step, the platform will be launched for exchange of specialized information and tools on COVID-19 among designated health professionals in the region. COINEX will also offer and facilitate various online training resources and e-learning modules.

The virtual meeting was an occasion for India to reaffirm its strong commitment towards greater sharing of knowledge,expertise and best practices in the joint fight against Covid-19 for the larger regional good.

New Delhi
April 23, 2020
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