Risk of disease spread bigger in era of globalisation: Dr Harsh Vardhan

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In an era of globalisation, the risk of the spread of a disease is even bigger since it does not distinguish between the boundaries of countries, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday.

Vardhan urged the WHO members to forge multi-sectoral collaboration to galvanise global response and cooperation to fight communicable and non-communicable diseases more effectively.

He presided over a virtual meeting of the World Health Organization’s bureau of executive board as its chairman. He stressed on the need to explore innovative ways to address new threats and challenges in the post-Covid phase, the health ministry said in a statement.

The agenda of the meet included finalisation of dates of the 32nd session of the programme, budget and administration committee, and resumed sessions of 73rd World Health Assembly and 147th executive board.

“The world has now realised the importance of health and the need for greater cooperation amongst countries to tackle the risks and dangers being posed by innumerable communicable and non-communicable diseases,” Vardhan said.

“In the era of globalisation, when the world is a large home to all humanity, the risk and challenge to spread of a disease is even bigger since it does not distinguish between boundaries of countries,” Vardhan was quoted as saying in the statement.

The health minister urged the WHO members “to forge multi-sectoral collaboration to mobilize and galvanize global response, support and cooperation to fight communicable and non-communicable diseases more effectively”.

He stressed on the “mutual need to come together to be more responsive in terms of managing the new challenges being faced so as to ensure a timely, adequate and coordinated global response”.

At the outset, Vardhan welcomed the participants to the first meeting of the bureau of the executive board and wished them well during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The bureau also includes the vice chairs of the executive board and the WHO director general. Observer participants and senior officials of the WHO headquarters were also present.

Vardhan expressed his deepest condolences and concern at the loss of lives due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. He offered sincere gratitude for the efforts of those on the frontline.

Recollecting the global crisis Covid-19 has unleashed, Vardhan said around 1.7 crore people had been infected and over 6 lakh lives had been lost.

The magnitude of the damages caused to the world economy is also immense, he added.

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