Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged neighbouring countries to explore special visa for medics and air ambulance to move around the region during health emergencies. PM Modi made the suggestions during an address at a workshop on ‘Covid-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward’. Countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka attended the workshop.
“Can we consider creating a special visa scheme for our doctors and nurses? So that they can travel quickly within our region during health emergencies at the request of the receiving country. If the 21st Century is to be the Asian century, it cannot be without greater integration among the countries of South Asia and Indian Ocean island countries,” PM Modi said.
PM Modi calls for air ambulance pact
He also asked whether our Civil Aviation ministries can coordinate a regional Air Ambulance agreement for medical contingencies? He also suggested that we can create a regional platform for collating, compiling and studying data about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among our populations. “Can we create a regional platform for collating, compiling and studying data about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among our populations?” Modi said in an address to regional health officials meeting virtually.
The Prime Minister lauded the way the health systems of the countries cooperated during the pandemic and for meeting the challenge in the most densely populated region with a coordinated response.
The Prime Minister recalled the creation of COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to meet the immediate costs of fighting the pandemic and sharing of resources – medicines, PPE, and testing equipment. He also noted the sharing of experiences and learning from each other’s best practices in testing, infection control and medical waste management.“This spirit of collaboration is a valuable takeaway from this pandemic. Through our openness and determination, we have managed to achieve one of the lowest fatality rates in the world. This deserves to be applauded. Today, the hopes of our region and the world are focused on rapid deployment of vaccines. In this too, we must maintain the same cooperative and collaborative spirit” said the Prime Minister.
Beyond COVID-19, the Prime Minister suggested sharing successful public health policies and schemes. “Hopes of our region and the world are focus on rapid deployment of vaccines. In this too, we must maintain the same cooperative and collaborative spirit. Over the past year, our health cooperation has achieved so much,” he said.
India has reported about 11 million COVID-19 infections and more than 156,000 deaths.