India has announced that it will be sharing its health technology initiatives as universal public goods with the global community to improve global health services. Lav Agarwal, Additional Secretary of Health, made this announcement at a press conference before the second health working group meeting under G20 India Presidency, to be held in Goa from 17-19 April 2023. Agarwal stated that he hoped these initiatives would benefit lower and middle-income countries that have faced inequities in access to global health services.
India’s Decision To Share Technology As Universal Public Goods
According to Agarwal, India has decided that any technology produced within the country will be shared with the rest of the world as universal public goods. He emphasized that technology is a game-changer that is revolutionizing healthcare delivery, and that lower and middle-income countries can benefit greatly from it. Agarwal also stressed that the promotion of technology in healthcare can ensure a better quality of service delivery and help these countries leapfrog in health services.
Institutional Framework For The Global Initiative On Digital Health
Agarwal also called for an institutional framework for the global initiative on digital health, stating that any organization working towards technology can join with this framework and promote their technology across the globe. He cited the example of the Cowin portal, which enabled the state to monitor the administration of 2.2 billion doses of the Covid vaccine. Agarwal emphasized that the Cowin portal could facilitate coordination significantly if it were accessible globally. Additionally, he mentioned the national teleconsultation E-sanjivani service, which has become India’s largest telemedicine platform, with over 110 million calls made since its introduction during the Covid pandemic. Agarwal pointed out that an engineer from Jharkhand found out that every call made using the E-sanjivani national teleconsultation service resulted in saving a distance of 24 km and $11 per call.
G20 Working Group Meeting
The second health working group meeting under G20 India Presidency will have over 180 attendees, including representatives from 19 G20 member nations, 22 international organizations, and 10 invited states. The working group has pinpointed three primary focus areas, which are Health Emergencies Prevention, Preparedness and Response, Strengthening Cooperation in Pharmaceutical Sector, and Digital Health Innovations and Solutions. India’s goal is to maintain and reinforce health priorities and significant learnings from previous presidencies while emphasizing crucial areas that require further strengthening. India also aims to attain consensus in discussions across different multilateral forums involved in health cooperation and strive towards a unified approach.
India’s decision to share its health technology initiatives as universal public goods is a significant step in improving global healthcare services. Agarwal’s call for an institutional framework for the global initiative on digital health will promote the use of technology in healthcare delivery and benefit lower and middle-income countries that have faced inequities in access to global health services. The G20 working group meeting will bring together delegates from member countries and international organizations to discuss priority areas and work towards achieving integrated action for improved global health outcomes.