India proposes shared electronic platform for SAARC to defeat COVID-19

27-03-2020

New Delhi,India has proposed a shared electronic platform for all SAARC nations to share and exchange information, knowledge, expertise and best practices for jointly combating the coronavirus epidemic.The proposal was made during the online conference of health professionals representing all SAARC countries at the level of Director General of Health Services (DGHS) on Thursday.India informed that health professionals that considerable work has already gone into the creation of the platform.The platform could also serve as a multipurpose vehicle to further discuss and conduct activities such as online training for emergency response personnel, knowledge partnerships, sharing of expertise in disease surveillance, including the corresponding software, and joint research for new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for epidemic diseases, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

The Indian side proposed that till such time the electronic platform is fully operational, a network of experts representing the Health Services of all SAARC countries may set up on email or whatsapp to enable exchange of all relevant information between the SAARC countries on real time basis, it added.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced at the Video Conference of SAARC leaders on March 15 that health professionals of all SAARC member states could hold a video conference to carry forward collaboration in the common fight against COVID-19 at the practical level.The conference was chaired by the DGHS of India, a wide range of issues relating to COVID-19 were discussed extensively with active and purposeful participation of all sides.

On India’s part, a comprehensive presentation was made on India’s response, covering the aspects of disease surveillance, contact tracing, travel restrictions and evacuation, risk assessment, diagnostics, isolation and quarantine methods and facilities, clinical management of patients, treatment options and protocols and safety of healthcare providers.Likewise, all other SAARC countries shared their own experiences of dealing with the Covid19 challenge in their respective settings.All countries also highlighted their specific vulnerabilities, capacities, best practices, gaps in resources and logistics, private sector participation as well as levels of preparedness.

Community engagement and participation was identified as an important element in any anti-Covid19 strategy to augment the large scale emergency measures undertaken by the governments in the SAARC region.The SAARC is a regional grouping comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.Total coronavirus positive cases have crossed the 720-mark as the death toll touched 17 on Friday.