The spotlight is poised to shine on India as the G20 Health Minister's Meeting, under India's G20 Presidency, kicks off from 17 to 19 August 2023 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. The prestigious gathering promises impactful discussions on global health collaboration and the launch of a Global Initiative on Digital Health.

Embarking on a Digital Healthcare era: The Global Initiative on Digital Health launches on 19 August 2023. As to be highlighted by Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the G20 India Presidency will be inclusive, action-oriented and decisive. This groundbreaking initiative is poised to unify efforts within the digital healthcare landscape, democratising technology to revolutionise healthcare delivery worldwide through expanded use of DPGs and aid Universal Health Coverage.

G20 Health Minister's Meeting

Further exemplifying the G20's holistic approach is the upcoming Joint Health and Finance Track meeting on August 19. While the permanent Global Medical Countermeasures Mechanism is being finalised under the INB process expected to conclude in May 2024, India's G20 Presidency brought into focus the need for such a platform to deliver safe, quality and effective medical countermeasures to ensure accessibility, availability, and affordability of medical countermeasures.

The discussions for such a platform evolved since the first Health Working Group of India and has gained consensus for an interim Global Medical Counter Measures Coordination Mechanism that is being deliberated upon through the WHO-led Member States Consultation process. An outcome of dedicated deliberations, this platform attests to India's unwavering commitment to promoting international collaboration in crisis management within the healthcare sector.

G20 India

The G20 Health Minister's Meeting focuses around three primary concerns outlined in the G20 Health Track. These include preventing, preparing for, and responding to health emergencies, particularly addressing anti-microbial resistance, and adopting the One Health approach. Another focus is enhancing collaboration within the pharmaceutical industry, with an emphasis on ensuring access to secure, efficient, high-quality, and affordable medical solutions like vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Additionally, the meeting is exploring advancements in digital health to support universal health coverage and enhance the delivery of healthcare services.

In line with the G20 presidency agenda and health track, WHO and UK health leaders met early this year to discuss the need to address their shared global health priorities and strengthen global collaboration to help protect the world from another pandemic.

India's G20 Presidency offers a unique platform to display the nation's extraordinary advancements in traditional medicine. A co-branded event, the World Health Organization's Global Summit on Traditional Medicine, co-hosted by the Ministry of AYUSH, is also being held as part of the summit. DG, WHO, Mr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will also be participating.

Over the past nine years, India has witnessed an impressive eightfold growth in this field, a testament to its unwavering commitment to innovative healthcare solutions. According to Shri Rajesh Kotecha, Union AYUSH Secretary, "the G20 provides a distinctive opportunity to spotlight India's leadership in the domain of traditional medicine."

Fostering global collaborations – Advantage Health Care India 2023: The G20 India Presidency casts a prominent spotlight on global collaborations through the 'Advantage Health Care India 2023' event. This planned G20 co-branded occasion focuses on the establishment of resilient healthcare systems through strategic partnerships. Shri Lav Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, highlights that "India's emphasis on affordability, accessibility, and usability constitutes key pillars in the health sector, propelling us towards achieving a global standard of healthcare."

Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Health & Family Welfare, emphasised earlier this year the significance of advancing vaccine research targeted at emerging pathogens. He stressed the vital role played by international cooperation in this endeavour, leveraging the G20 platform to facilitate and promote collaborative efforts.

India's G20 Presidency is dedicated to echoing the voices of the Global South. Lav Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, underscored India's commitment to affordability, accessibility, and usability within the healthcare sector.

In the picturesque setting of Gandhinagar, the G20 Health Ministers' Meeting is bringing together dignitaries, health ministers and visionary leaders from around the world. This high-profile event is poised to engage, collaborate, and catalyse transformative changes in healthcare.

Dr. Manisha Verma, ADG, PIB, Delhi and Shri Prakash Magdum, ADG, PIB, Gandhinagar also attended the pre-event media briefing that was held on 16 August 2023.