CoWIN to go global, app will help fight virus: PM
Addressing the CoWIN global conclave, the PM said there was no parallel to the pandemic in a hundred years and experience had shown that no nation, no matter how powerful, could tackle a challenge such as this in isolation
on Monday offered India’s CoWIN app for Covid-19 vaccinations to countries around the world, saying technology is integral to the global fight against the pandemic.
Addressing the CoWIN global conclave, during which India opened the platform to the world as a digital public good to combat Covid-19, Modi said there was no parallel to the pandemic in a hundred years, and experience had shown that no nation, no matter how powerful, could tackle a challenge such as this in isolation.
“That’s why, our technology platform for Covid vaccination – the platform we call CoWIN – is being prepared to be made open source. Soon, it will be available to any and all countries,” he said.
“Today’s conclave is the first step to introduce this platform to all of you. This is the platform through which India has administered 350 million doses of Covid vaccines,” he said, adding people no longer need to carry “fragile pieces of paper” as proof of vaccination.
“It is all available in digital format. But best of all, the software can be customised to any country as per their local requirements,” he said.
The external affairs ministry facilitated the participation of some 400 delegates from more than 140 countries in the virtual conclave. The participants included representatives from the European Commission and UN offices in India.
Ministers from five countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Afghanistan and Guyana – addressed the conclave, and senior international participants spoke during technical sessions. The ministers said this initiative could be useful for addressing health-related challenges in their countries and expressed interest in collaborating with India to use the CoWIN platform.
Modi said the biggest lesson from the pandemic for humanity is that people have to “work together and move ahead together”, while learning from each other and guiding each other on best practices.
“Right from the beginning of this pandemic, India has been committed to sharing all our experiences, expertise and resources with the global community in this battle. Despite all our constraints, we have tried to share as much as possible with the world,” he said.
At the same time, India is eager to learn from global practices and “technology is integral to our fight against Covid-19”, Modi said. Software is an area in which there are no resource constraints and that is why India made Aarogya Setu, its Covid-19 tracing and tracking mobile app, open source as soon as it was technically feasible, he added.
“With nearly 200 million users, this Aarogya Setu app is a readily available package for developers. Having been used in India, you can be sure that it has been tested in the real world for speed and scale,” he said.
Modi described vaccination as the “best hope for humanity to emerge successfully from the pandemic”, and said India had adopted a completely digital approach while planning its vaccination strategy.
“In today’s globalised world, if the post-pandemic world has to return to normalcy, such a digital approach is essential. After all, people must be able to prove that they have been vaccinated. Such proof must be safe, secure and trustworthy.
People must also have a record of when, where and by whom they have been vaccinated,” he said.
Governments are concerned about making sure that each dose of Covid-19 vaccines is tracked and wastage minimised, and all of this wouldn’t be possible without an “end-to-end digital approach”, he added.
Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla, who also addressed the conclave, said the CoWIN platform can be adapted and scaled up for health interventions across the globe. “We stand ready to make the CoWIN platform available to our partner countries,” he said.
RS Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority said, “With an interoperable design, CoWIN has been designed as an amalgamation of open APIs. This allows private and public organizations to build on top of the CoWIN platform, while all systems continue to talk to each other and maintain that single source.”