Collaboration in the field of healthcare is one of the priorities to strengthen the bonds among the BRICS nations, an Indian government official said Monday.

“We have declared health collaboration as a priority to collectively enhance our partnerships among each other and other countries we are engaged with through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms,” said Additional Secretary, Health, C.K. Mishra.

Speaking after the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a bulletin devoted to the theme of “BRICS and Global Health” – a joint initiative of WHO Representatives in BRICS countries, he noted that the production of high-quality, affordable medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and other health technologies by the BRICS is improving access in resource-poor countries.

“In the endeavour to address the double burden of disease we face due to combination of rapid emergence of noncommunicable and persistence of communicable diseases, we are seeking to reform our health systems, advance universal health coverage and focus on social determinants of health,” Mishra said.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the countries known as the “BRICS”) involve nearly 40 percent of the world’s population. After having achieved remarkable economic growth over the last two decades, they have taken important steps towards improving their health systems and the health of their citizens.

Outlining the importance of the initiative, WHO Representative to India Nata Menabde said BRICS has a unique capacity to influence health at global level.

“It is well understood that proper implementation of policies and timely delivery of concrete results can help in uplifting the health and well being of millions of citizens in the BRICS countries. This will significantly contribute to the improvement of global health indicators,” Menabde said.

With inputs from IANS

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