5 Feb :UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon met the Union Health & Family Welfare Minister, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, here today and discussed a wide gamut of health related issues including National Rural Health Mission, impact of global financial crisis on health and climate change.
Complementing Dr. Ramadoss for his leadership in the health sector, the Secretary General described Dr. Ramadoss as a public health champion, recognized at global level, in the control of tobacco use and non-communicable disease which accounts for two-third disease burden in India. The Secretary General disclosed that it is for the first time he is visiting Health Minister’s office in any country of the world in his two years of tenure as Secretary General. “It is because of your commitment to the health issues, I am doing that”, said the Secretary General.
Mr Ban Ki-moon, who is here to attend Delhi Sustainable Development Summit where he will also be presented Sustainable Development Award, showed keen interest in National Rural Health Mission which is the biggest and most the ambitious programme since independence. The Mission has completed three years and the gains made in many provinces of the country are nothing short of dramatic. Health indicators have moved swiftly and led to unprecedented rise in the public confidence in the public health care system where doctors, drugs and diagnostics are increasingly available. The Secretary General conveyed his appreciation for the vision and leadership behind the healthcare project of this magnitude for providing affordable and equitable health care to all. Mr Ban Ki-moon assured the continued and enhanced technical support of UN agencies in the various facets of NRHM.
Impact of current global financial crisis on the health scenario figured prominently in the discussions of the two dignitaries. It was felt that a clear and unequivocal message must be sent that, more than any other, it is the recessionary times that require strengthening of public health systems, protection of aid committed for health and sustaining investments in the health sector.
The Secretary General and Dr Ramadoss also discussed health impact due to climate change. In this context, the Health Minister highlighted that the Government of India has released the National Action Plan on Climate Change with 8 National Missions including on solar power, energy efficiency, promoting forest cover and health.
The Secretary General also appreciated the Health Minister’s efforts for raising national and international partnership in the heath sector in new heights, including with UN agencies and other international partners.