'Continuing to provide services must to maintain people's trust'
New Delhi: Focusing on COVID-19 related activities and continuing to provide essential services are important not only to maintain people's trust in the health system but also to minimise any increase in morbidity and mortality from other health conditions, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday.
He made these remarks during a high-level virtual panel discussion on "Continuity on Health Services during COVID-19 Crisis", according to a health ministry statement.
He appreciated Defeat-NCD Partnership at United Nations Institute for Training and Research for organising a 'call for action' session for countries on "Uninterrupted Health Services for NCDs during the COVID-19 Crisis", the statement said.
The meeting was organised to ensure the continuity of health services to non-communicable disease (NCD) patients during the current humanitarian crisis.
The Defeat-NCD Partnership was born out of the recognition that NCDs are now the major contributor to the global burden of disease, leading to mortality of at least 41 million people each year, the equivalent to 70 per cent of all deaths globally.
Vardhan reminded the world of the present existential crisis, the global threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to over 3.46 million deaths across the world. India too is facing the brunt of the second wave of the pandemic, he was quoted in the statement as saying. He highlighted the importance of providing essential health services and the major impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the capacity of global health systems to continue the uninterrupted delivery of these services.
"While health systems around the world are being challenged by increasing demand for care of COVID-19 patients, the COVID-19 outbreak has placed unprecedented demands on our health systems. Our health facilities and workforce are currently inundated by a plethora of activities related to controlling the pandemic. In doing so, essential health services which communities expect from the health system, do get compromised," he said.
"However, focusing on COVID-19 related activities, and continuing to provide essential services, is important not only to maintain people's trust in the health system to deliver essential health services but also to minimise any increase in morbidity and mortality from other health conditions," he said.
Vardhan observed that to achieve universal health coverage and to reduce premature NCD deaths by one-third, health care systems need to radically transform.