India’s Efforts for the Advancement of NAM’s Agenda on Health Access

The Non-Aligned Movement is not just merely a political grouping of the developing nations of the global South. The movement has also seriously contemplated upon the pressing social issues faced by the developing world and urged its member states to enact measures that would address this issues. Access to better health facilities is one prominent issue that is prevalent in the entire spectrum of the developing world.
As such, the Non –Aligned Movement has called upon the member states to enhance their cooperation at the national, regional and international levels to confront and combat the challenges of health related scourges and has stressed the need to give appropriate consideration to the issue of halting and reversing the global threat posed by health epidemics. India, one of the prominent founder members of the NAM has consistently worked for the advancement of the NAM agenda, objectives and principles and has made efforts for a greater collaboration in health research among NAM countries.
In what was a significant development in this regards, the Indian Minister of Health & Family Welfare Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda successfully conducted the proceedings of the 68th Session of the World Health Assembly in his capacity as its President, which took place in Geneva from 18-26 May 2015. It was after a gap of 19 years that India assumed the Presidency of the World Health Assembly, the highest decision making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). The significant outcome of the 68th World Health Assembly is the adoption of a Global Action Plan on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) which prepares a blueprint with specific actions and timelines for WHO as well as Member States to address the growing threat of AMR.
The UN General Assembly is expected to hold a high-level segment on AMR in 2016 to further highlight the need for comprehensive implementation of the Plan. Other major outcomes of the 68th World Health Assembly include bringing adverse health impacts of air pollution to the main agenda of the World Health Organization and extension of the implementation timeframe of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPOA).
The Assembly also endorsed the Director General’s Action Plan to strengthen the emergency response capacities of WHO and approved an 8% increase in WHO’s programme budget for 2016-17. India played a constructive role in the adoption of consensus resolutions on AMR and air pollution and also co-sponsored the resolution on GSPOA. India used the opportunity of its Presidency to reiterate its commitment to WHO and announced voluntary contributions to the tune of US $ 2.1 million towards the new WHO contingency fund, the pooled fund for implementation of R&D demonstration projects and the Member State Mechanism on SSFFC Medical Products. As such, India demonstrated on the global scale that it was committed to promoting the health agenda as envisaged by the Non- Aligned Movement.
In his address to the NAM health ministers, Mr. Nadda mentioned that India’s major focus was on accelerating the pace of development of useful diagnostics, re-agents, therapeutics, and prevention methods for communicable diseases such as viral, bacterial, and parasitological diseases, and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
The long-term aim of Indian health policies in this regards was to to make these modalities available to populations in low- and middle-income countries at affordable costs. India has advocated greater research collaboration on health among the developing countries and has posited that NAM can be an advocacy platform to strongly support global health policies that aim at reducing health inequity among nations.
Mr. Nadda remarked at the meeting of NAM health ministers that NAM countries, representing more than half of the world’s population, seemed to be strategically placed to harness their ‘collective’ bargaining power to make new medicines and medical technologies available to the populations at affordable cost.
India posits that in the present global health scenario, NAM can provide thought leadership on the issue of promoting health equity and reducing health inequity among nations as well as within nations. Regular sharing of best practices would greatly help the developing world to implement cost-effective scalable interventions, especially targeting maternal and child health care and non-communicable diseases, which have been successfully implemented in many of NAM Member States. In this context, NAM countries can work as a consortium to avail the health co-benefits of technological advancements.

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