Monday 23 May 2022
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Modi initiates India’s criticism of World Health Organisation

Days after the WHO published erroneous data on infections and casualties in India, Prime Minister Modi reminded the agency it had one of the best health statistics management systems

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While Indians had been wondering for the past two years why the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had been adhering to the standards of the World Health Organisation (WHO) despite the UN agency’s questionable conduct in declaring Covid-19 as a pandemic in time and its head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus enjoying Chinese President Xi Jinping’s hospitality at an inopportune moment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today took the first step towards suggesting not everything was all about the global health institution.

Speaking at the second Global Covid Summit today, Prime Minister Modi called for a people-centric strategy to tackle the Covid pandemic. The prime minister participated in the first global virtual summit on Covid hosted by Biden on 22 September last year.

The summit intends to formulate policy and execute new actions to address the challenges of the pandemic and build a stronger global health security architecture.

Prime Minister Modi began the speech by reminding the delegates, “The Covid pandemic continues to disrupt lives and supply chains and test the resilience of open societies. In India, we adopted a people-centric strategy against the pandemic.”

At a time when the WHO published erroneous data on India’s rate of infection and casualties, Prime Minister Modi reminded the agency, “India has the largest Covid vaccination program in the world. Nearly 90% of the adults in India have already been fully-vaccinated. In India, we extensively use our traditional medicines to supplement our fight against Covid and to boost immunity.”

“Last month, we laid the foundation of the WHO centre of traditional medicine in India with an aim to make this knowledge available to the world,” Prime Minister Modi said. “It is clear that a coordinated global response is required to combat future health emergencies. We must build a resilient global supply chain and ensure equitable access to vaccines and medicine,” he said.

“As a responsible member of the global community, India is ready to play a key role in these efforts,” the prime minister said.

“Our vaccination programme is the largest in the world. We have fully vaccinated almost 90% of the adult population and more than 50 million children. India manufactures four WHO-approved vaccines and has the capacity to produce five billion doses this year,” the prime minister said.

“We supplied over 200 million doses to 98 countries. India has developed low-cost Covid mitigation technologies for testing, treating and data management. We have offered these capabilities to other countries. India’s Genomics Consortium has contributed significantly to the global database on the virus. I am happy to share that we will extend this network to countries in our neighbourhood,” Prime Minister Modi said.

“In India, we extensively used our traditional medicines to supplement our fight against Covid-19 and to boost immunity, saving countless lives,” he said.

“WHO must be reformed and strengthened to build a more resilient health security architecture. India is ready to play a key role in this effort,” the prime minister added.

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