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G20 Health Ministers Bat for Setting Up Resilient & Equitable Health Systems in Developing Nations

Written by : Jayati Dubey

August 30, 2023

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The objective is to guarantee the broad availability of secure, top-notch vaccines, therapies, diagnostics, and additional medical interventions, with special attention directed towards assisting low- and middle-income countries and small island developing states.

The G20 Health Ministers meeting convened in Gandhinagar reached a unanimous consensus on the imperative need to fortify health systems globally. The outcome document of the meeting, comprising 25 paragraphs, outlines an overarching commitment to constructing more resilient, equitable, and inclusive health systems.

The goal is to ensure widespread access to safe, high-quality vaccines, treatments, diagnostics, and other medical measures, with a particular focus on extending support to low and middle-income nations as well as small island developing states.

Although all G20 delegations embraced most of the content in the document, an exception was observed regarding paragraph 22. This paragraph delved into the geopolitical situation concerning Ukraine and was met with varied perspectives among the delegates.

One of the pivotal agreements reached during the meeting involves establishing a comprehensive research and development and manufacturing network for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

Additionally, a platform will be introduced to create open-source and interoperable digital solutions, which will play a crucial role in healthcare accessibility and effectiveness.

A significant highlight is the resolute anticipation for a successful outcome in the ongoing negotiations within the inter-governmental negotiating body (INB).

The focus of these negotiations is a potential legally binding WHO convention or international instrument pertaining to pandemic prevention preparedness and response, slated for completion by May 2024.

Climate change resilience also came to the forefront during the discussions. Health ministers acknowledged the urgent need to bolster health systems against the repercussions of climate change.

A commitment was made to prioritise the development of climate-resilient health systems that are both sustainable and possess low-carbon and low greenhouse gas emission attributes. The emphasis here lies in delivering top-notch healthcare while also mobilising resources to ensure sustainability and resilience.

The G20 members collectively resolved to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) comprehensively. This will be done through the One Health approach, involving robust multi-sectoral governance, research and development, infection prevention and control, and responsible use of antimicrobials.

The ministers also acknowledged the promising potential of evidence-based traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) and its role in public health systems. This recognition, however, is conditioned on rigorous scientific validation in accordance with the WHO TM Strategy.

Digital health emerged as a cornerstone in the pursuit of strengthened healthcare systems. While acknowledging existing initiatives, the ministers noted the need for better coordination and integration of these initiatives to create a harmonious digital health ecosystem. This would ensure that healthcare services are universally accessible and equitable.

The establishment of the Global Initiative on Digital Health under WHO's stewardship was also championed, as it is expected to reduce fragmentation and enhance interoperability, thereby amplifying the impact of digital health efforts.

To sum up, the G20 Health Ministers' meeting stands as a pivotal event in advocating for more resilient, accessible, and equitable global health systems. The consensus reached showcases a commitment to joint efforts in bolstering healthcare, with measures ranging from pandemic preparedness to climate resilience and digital health advancement.


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