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Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls for regional air ambulance pact amid Covid-19

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A special visa program for doctors and nurses and a regional air ambulance agreement for medical emergencies in South Asia and two East African island countries were among the suggestions made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. during a workshop on the management of Covid-19 on Thursday.

Modi, in his virtual address, said that over the past year much has been achieved through regional cooperation in health, and urged, “Can we now think about raising our ambition further?

The Prime Minister proposed to “create a regional platform to collect, compile and study data on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines among our populations”.

He said: “Can we similarly create a regional network to promote technology-assisted epidemiology, to prevent future pandemics? And, beyond Covid-19, can we also share our successful public health policies and programs? “

The special visa regime could allow medical professionals to move quickly in the region during health emergencies, at the request of the host country, Modi said.

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Besides India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka took part in the workshop.

Modi said that when Covid-19 struck, experts expressed concerns about India due to its dense population, but that she rose to the challenge with a coordinated response. “In March of last year, we were the first to come together to recognize the threat and commit to fighting it together. Many other regions and groups have followed our first example. “

Taking the example of the Covid Emergency Response Fund to cover the immediate costs of fighting the pandemic, Modi said India was sharing resources ranging from drugs and PPE kits to testing equipment. “We have shared the most valuable commodity – knowledge – through the collaborative training of our health workers … This collaborative spirit is a valuable benefit of this pandemic.”

He said the region as a whole has managed to achieve one of the lowest death rates in the world. “The hopes of our region and the world are focused on the rapid deployment of vaccines. Here too, we must maintain the same spirit of cooperation and collaboration.

Speaking to experts and health officials from immediate and extended neighboring countries, Modi said India’s Ayushman Bharat and Jan Arogya projects could be useful case studies for “our friends in the region”.

Suggesting that such collaboration could become a path for greater cooperation in other areas, he added: “After all, we share so many common challenges – climate change, natural disasters, poverty, illiteracy. and social and gender imbalances … But we also share the power of centuries-old cultural and interpersonal relationships. “

He told participating nations to focus on whatever unites them to overcome other challenges as well.

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