Harsh Vardhan Exhorts WHO Officials, Indian Doctors to Eradicate Covid-19 Like Polio and Small Pox

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday held a video conference with WHO officials and exhorted hem to work jointly with their Indian counterparts to eradicate the coronavirus malady just like they stamped out polio and small pox from India.

Harsh Vardhan also spoke to WHO’s South Asia Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, and its India’s Representative, Dr Henk Bekedam, who all praised the country’s ongoing fight against the pandemic.

The health minister also discussed with WHO’s officials ways and means to ramp up India’s fight against COVID-19 at the field level.

“We can and we will defeat this virus. WHO is an important partner in our fight against COVID-19. I really value the guidance and contributions made by the WHO in containing the spread of COVID-19 across the country,” the heath minister said.

Vardhan recollected how doctors, in the government or WHO, were passionate about the cause of eradication of polio and contributed a lot for the purpose.

“Without their sincere contribution, it would have taken more time to eradicate polio from South East Asia including India,” he said.

He further motivated doctors and reminded them of their potential and ability because of which India managed to emerge victorious from the scourge of polio.

He said India was first to respond to COVID-19 and stands on a better footing than the rest of the world because of the valuable and sincere services of our “corona warriors”.

“We are able to check this enemy through community surveillance, issuance of various advisories, cluster containment and dynamic strategy,” he said.

Praising India’s response to COVID-19, WHO’s South-East Asia regional director, Dr Singh said, “Despite huge and multiple challenges, India has been demonstrating unwavering commitment in its fight against the pandemic.”

WHO’s India Representative Dr Bekedam said, “Our field personnel have been redirected to support the fight against COVID-19. The same team worked tirelessly along with the government and other partner organizations to help India become polio-free. I am confident that the WHO team can once again join hands with the government to help win this fight against COVID-19.”

The key discussion points of the interaction included technical coordination with WHO officers working at district level for helping in development of micro-plan for hot spots and clusters containment, helping in analysis of existing cases to identify the possible route of transmission and devising strategy for continued surveillance of districts till such time there is reliable evidence that there is no scope for further infection in the district.

Key central and state government health functionaries were also present in the videoconference.

The experiences and strategies from three states — Bihar, Karnataka and Maharashtra — were also presented during the meeting.

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