India welcomes US decision to continue participation in WHO: Vardhan

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New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) India welcomes the US' decision to continue participation in the World Health Organisation, Health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday.

Vardhan digitally chaired the 148th session of the WHO Executive Board through video conference on Tuesday.

'On behalf of India and as Chair of the WHO Executive Board, I welcome the announcement that the new administration of President Joe Biden will halt the process of withdrawing the US from the WHO,' he said.

'We note with pleasure that the USA will continue working with all member states with renewed commitment to multilateral cooperation and action in the global fight against the pandemic. As our DG said, 'WHO is a family of nations and it requires the solidarity of nations to prevail',” he said.

Dr Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Adviser to the President of USA, addressed the executive board on behalf of the Biden-Harris administration, announcing that the US will remain a member of the WHO and fulfil its financial obligations with continued technical collaboration at all levels, including through its collaborating centres.

He acknowledged the role of the WHO in leading the global public health response to the outbreak, and convening scientists and researchers to help accelerate the development of vaccine therapeutics and diagnostics and tracking the latest developments for keeping the member states informed.

Noting that the world is on the verge of defeating the pandemic by adopting a preemptive, proactive and collaborative strategy, Vardhan said the biggest success of this pandemic has been team work and people putting the right outcome ahead of individual glory.

'Healthcare organizations actually focused on delivering a meaningful goal, whether it was across a nation, across a continent or across the world. Our science and healthcare communities have exhibited that we can meet any pace, retain the quality of our diagnostics and care, build confidence and trust that speed doesn't mean lack of quality,' he said.

Vardhan said if 2020 was the year of discovery for COVID vaccines, 2021 will be 'the year we face the challenge of getting it to people across the world who most need it. Here is the big role that we at WHO must play'.

He said engagement with multiple stakeholders and youth influencers is all the more important now to spread the right information and dispel rumours about the vaccination program and the continuation of other core public health measures aimed at ending the pandemic.

On unanimous support for Immunization Agenda 2030, Vardhan said the vaccine coverage must continue to improve, particularly to reach vulnerable sections and reduce inequities. PTI UZM RDM RDM