WHO Director-General visits India for the Delhi End-TB Summit

The first official visit of WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu was marked by several milestone moments. This included reaffirming the Organization’s commitment towards working with the Government of India and all stakeholders for a TB-free India at the Delhi End-TB Summit organised by India’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), WHO and Stop TB Partnership.

Inaugurating the summit on 13 March 2018, Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi made the bold announcement of a TB free India by 2025 — five years ahead of a globally-set deadline.

The summit brought together health leaders and public health experts from across the world, especially from the South-East Asia Region (SEAR). “Progress against TB in this Region will have a major impact on the progress globally,” said Dr Tedros.

One of the top priorities of WHO is to work with national health authorities on their priorities and strengthen the building blocks of health and to enact policies aimed at ensuring that health care is equitable and affordable for all.

Towards this end, during his visit, Dr Tedros met Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi; Mr Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs; Mr J. P. Nadda, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare; Mr Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopath; Mr V. K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, and senior government officials, parliamentarians, civil society representatives. Dr Tedros also delivered a lecture on Universal Health Coverage at the NITI Aayog.

Dr Tedros complimented the Government of India on the courageous and bold initiatives taken to expand universal health coverage through the twin pillars of Ayushman Bharat - the path-breaking National Health Protection Mission and Health & Wellness Centers.

A high-point of the visit was the Memorandum of Agreement signed between WHO and MoHFW for enhanced cooperation.

“Dr Tedros’s visit has further cemented our role of a valued and trusted partner of the government, which has been appreciative of our work and support,” said Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and WHO sign agreement for enhanced cooperation

To further strengthen collaborative work in achieving improved health outcomes, a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed by Mr Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, International Health, MoHFW and Dr Tedros in the presence of Mr Nadda, Union Health Minister; Ms Preeti Sudan, Union Health Secretary; Dr Soumya Swaminathan, DDG-Programmes, WHO; Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia and Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India.

This agreement is a recognition of the critical need for, and contribution of, collaborative work by WHO and Government of India (GoI) based on clear distinction of roles that create added value, synergies and coordinating among different programmes towards achievements of global, regional and national health outcomes. GoI would like to sustain the National Polio Surveillance Programme network to 2022 and beyond to support the broader public health needs as well as continued support for WHO TB consultants network.