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Dr Harsh Vardhan launches WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023

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The strategy provides roadmap for WHO to work with Government of India towards achieving its health sector goals

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare launched ‘The WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023: A Time of Transition’. The Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) provides a strategic roadmap for WHO to work with the Government of India (GoI) towards achieving its health sector goals, in improving the health of its population and bringing in transformative changes in the health sector.

The India CCS is one of the first that fully aligns itself with the newly adopted WHO 13th General Programme of Work and its ‘triple billion’ targets, the Sustainable Development Goals and WHO South-East Asia Region’s eight Flagship Priorities. The CCS also captures the work of the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework for 2018–2022.

The CCS outlines how WHO can support the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and allied Ministries to drive impact at the country level. The CCS builds on other key strategic policy documents including India’s National Health Policy 2017, the many path breaking initiatives India has introduced — from Ayushman Bharat to its National Viral Hepatitis programme and promotion of digital health amongst others.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Vardhan congratulated both the Ministry officials and WHO team. He said that the CCS is going to be a very important document for India for the next 5-years and has been developed through a consultative approach with government ministries and other stakeholders. He said that, “WHO has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to further the health agenda.” He further added that he looks forward to WHO’s support and collaboration in advancing forward India’s health for all goal.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, in her message shared on the occasion said, “The strategic priorities outlined in the CCS reflect the Region’s broader strategic focus. WHO will continue to support India achieve its objectives and pursue a trajectory to help sustain, accelerate and innovate measures that have produced dramatic advances in the health and well-being of its people. It will likewise continue to appreciate and commend India’s successes and their broader impact within the WHO South-East Asia Region and beyond.”

Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that it is a proud moment for us. The CCS is a dynamic document with flexibility in its strategic plan. She said that our every effort has been to not only do our best, but also set out an example for the world. She expressed her confidence that the partnership with WHO will be very productive.

Prof Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research and DG, Indian Council of Medical Research said, “Health research informs policy and public health programmes in addressing complex challenges and ensuring better health outcomes. WHO and ICMR collaborate on several research activities across programme areas including TB, HIV, NCD risk factors and the India State-Level Disease Burden initiative. We look forward to further strengthening and consolidating this strong partnership as articulated in the CCS.”

Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India, “The implementation of this CCS will build on the remarkable successes in public health that India has demonstrated to the world. It’s a great opportunity to showcase India as a model to the world in initiatives such as digital health, access to quality medicines and medical products, comprehensive hepatitis control program and Ayushman Bharat. We are geared to step-up to leverage opportunities and address challenges to ensure maximum public health impact.”

WHO’s technical support to the Government of India will fall under the following four strategic priorities to contribute India’s health agenda:

Strategic Priority 1: Accelerate progress on UHC
Strategic Priority 2: Promote health and wellness by addressing determinants of health
Strategic Priority 3: Better protect the population against health emergencies
Strategic Priority 4: Enhance India’s global leadership in health

The period of this CCS is expected to bring rapid and significant changes to India’s health sector and to improve access to quality health care, especially to the vulnerable and underserved populations.

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