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Modi calls for reforms in WHO, WTO rules to enable vaccine equity

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Coordinated global response required to combat future health emergencies, PM says at Global COVID Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for reforms in the WHO’s approval process for vaccines and highlighted the need for more flexibility in WTO rules, particularly related to intellectual property, to enable equitable access to vaccines and medicines and build a resilient global supply chain.

“WTO rules, particularly TRIPS, need to be more flexible. WHO must be reformed and strengthened to build a more resilient global health security architecture. We also call for streamlining WHO’s approval process for vaccines and therapeutics to keep supply chains stable and predictable,” Modi said in his virtual address at the opening session of the `Second Global COVID Virtual Summit’ on Thursday.

The summit is co-hosted by the US, as first COVID Summit Chair, Belize, as CARICOM Chair; Germany, holding the G7 Presidency; Indonesia, holding the G20 Presidency; and Senegal as African Union Chair.

“It is clear that a coordinated global response is required to combat future health emergencies. We must build a resilient global supply chain and enable equitable access to vaccines and medicines….As a responsible member of the global community, India is ready to play a key role in these efforts,” Modi said.

Vaccine-making capacity

India manufactures four WHO-approved vaccines and has the capacity to produce five billion doses this year, the PM noted. “We supplied over 200 million doses to 98 countries, bilaterally and through COVAX. India has developed low-cost Covid mitigation technologies for testing, treating and data management. We have offered these capabilities to other countries,” he said.

The PM pointed out that India’s Genomics Consortium had contributed significantly to the global database on the virus and would be extended to neighbouring countries soon.

“In India, we extensively used our traditional medicines to supplement our fight against Covid and to boost immunity, saving countless lives. Last month, we laid the foundation of ‘‘WHO Centre for Traditional Medicine’‘ in India, with an aim to make this age-old knowledge available to the world, he said.

India’s vaccination programme was the largest in the world with 90 per cent of the adult population fully vaccinated and more than 50 million children also covered under it.

Published on May 12, 2022

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