“The Beijing Declaration of the first BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting emphasized the importance and the need of technology transfer as a means to empower developing countries; the importance of generic medicines in the realization of the right to health; and to establish priorities in research and development as well as cooperation among BRICS countries including support to transfer of technologies and innovation in a sustainable way to foster cooperation among BRICS countries to make available and improve technology,” he added.
Pradhan said ‘in the Delhi Declaration issued during the 4th BRICS Heads of States Meeting, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, held at New Delhi on 29th March, 2012, it was urged that meetings of BRICS Health Ministers be held in an institutionalized manner so that the countries of BRICS could jointly address common goals such as promoting innovation and universal access to health technologies including medicines, especially in the context of increasing costs and the growing burden of both communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and to encourage flow of knowledge amongst research institutions through joint projects, workshops and exchange of visits, particularly by young scientists in areas relating to pharmaceuticals and health’.
“Thereafter, during the sidelines of World Health Assembly held at Geneva, Health Ministers of BRICS countries met on 22.5.2012 and decided that some thematic areas of work under BRICS Health Platform be identified for each country to be carried forward by the Technical Group,” said Pradhan.
“Accordingly, as per agreed plan of action, each country had to identify a nodal officer for each area of work, to work with the lead officer of the country piloting the particular area of work and to come out with a programme of work to advance the health related cooperation among BRICS countries, in particular the establishment of the network of technological cooperation,” he added.
Pradhan further said it was also decided in Geneva that India would host the next BRICS Health Ministers Meeting.
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. Considering this, we have included the topics such as CEWG Recommendations and WHO Reforms in the agenda since they are quite relevant today, to a collaborative health RandD as well as to resource allocation and priority setting, budgeting and financing etc. India supports open-source drug development for encouraging the global health agenda for universal access to affordable medicines and health commodities of assured quality,” said Pradhan.
“We also support the view that involvement and priority setting for this purpose should be driven by public health needs of the developing countries. Although we have been able to make significant progress in providing better health facilities to our peoples, we must recognize that much more still needs to be done,” he added.
Stating that 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, Pradhan said: “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. I am sure that this can be achieved if we agree to discuss issues on a positive note, in a constructive manner, and in the utmost spirit of trust and co-operation,” he added.
The first day’s programme included presentation of thematic areas by each BRICS country followed by discussion and finalization of action plan.
This article was first published by the Big News Network (ANI) on 10 January 2013