BRICS nations discuss ways to achieve health goals through collaboration

Affordable health care and containing burden of diseases high on agenda

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Thursday 10 January 2013

The second meeting of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries on health commenced in Delhi on Thursday. Senior advisors of these countries are holding discussions over two days to arrive at a common ground to work together on health matters like non-communicable diseases (NCDs), strengthening health surveillance and technology transfer.

The first day’s programme included thematic presentations followed by discussions and finalisation of action plan on five subjects: strengthening health surveillance system; reducing NCDs and risk factors; prevention and health promotion and universal health coverage and strategic health technologies with a focus on communicable and NCDs; medical technologies and drug discovery and development.

In his inaugural address, Union health secretary of India P K Pradhan said BRICS countries represent 43 percent of the world’s population. “This is both a strength and challenge for us. If we stand united, we can achieve a lot of positive development not only within our own countries but also on various international platforms,” he said. Considering this, topics such as CEWG (WHO's Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination) recommendations and WHO reforms have been included in the agenda, he said. “They are quite relevant today to a collaborative health research and development as well as to resource allocation and priority setting, budgeting and financing,” he added.

He also said that India supports open-source drug development for encouraging the global health agenda for universal access to affordable medicines and health commodities of assured quality.

He further said: “We are aware that the BRICS countries have several unique strengths such as the capacity for manufacturing affordable health products and research in some cutting edge areas. At the same time, we know that a large number of health challenges of the BRICS countries are common. As such, we must together rise to the occasion with specific and agreed plans of collaboration to harness our strengths and overcome our weaknesses. BRICS gives us a very important platform to be able to do that in an environment of trust and co-operation.”

The first BRICS Health Ministers’ meeting was held at Beijing on July 11, 2011 following the decision taken by heads of BRICS countries in the Sanya Declaration of April 14, 2011.


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