Vardhan calls for shared response from WHO members to tackle challenges such as COVID-19

Challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic demand a shared response, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told WHO members on Monday and urged them to work with the global community of partners for an efficient, effective and responsive discharge of public health obligations.
Presiding over the fifth special session of the Bureau of the Executive Board as Chairman of the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO), he expressed his deepest condolences for those who died fighting the pandemic and those who are continuing to fight relentlessly and selflessly.
Referring to the global crisis the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed, Vardhan said, “These are compelling circumstances that have forced us all to meet virtually.” “Governments, industry and philanthropy must pool resources to pay for the risk, the research, manufacturing and distribution, but with the condition that the rewards should be available to everyone, regardless of where they have been developed.” “All these challenges, such as the present pandemic, demand a shared response because these are the shared threats requiring shared responsibility to act. The shared responsibility is also the core philosophy of our alliance of member nations that comprise WHO,” Vardhan was quoted as saying in a health ministry statement.
Committing to disaster risk reduction and management would require transparent identification and communication of risks, maintaining the momentum in investing in people and resilient health systems, strengthened multi-sector collaboration and rational evidence-based implementation of plans, he said.
Vardhan also stressed on the “need to initiate, at the earliest appropriate moment and in consultation with the member states, a stepwise process of an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation, including using existing mechanisms, as appropriate, to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19.” The agenda of the meet included focus on the measures necessary to ensure the full and effective implementation of the terms of resolution WHA 73.1 on COVID-19 response.
The resolution WHA 73.1 titled ‘COVID-19 response’ was co-sponsored by more than 130 countries with calls for the intensification of efforts to control the pandemic and for equitable access to and fair distribution of all essential health technologies and products to combat the virus.
Observer participants and senior officials of WHO Headquarters also attended the session.