SAARC health professionals to hold video conference to discuss Covid-19
Senior health professionals of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries are expected to hold a video conference on March 26 to exchange experiences of combating the spread of Covid-19 so far, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
The health professional will discuss specific protocols dealing with screening at entry points, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation facilities etc.
The discussions in the conference are also proposed to include practical joint action on online training capsules for emergency response teams, setting up of an Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal, creation of a Common Research Platform and coordination of research on controlling epidemics within the South Asian region.
“It is India’s belief that sharing of resources, expertise, best practices and capacities in these challenging times would go a long way in bringing the countries in the SAARC region closer together,” the statement said.
The SAARC region comprises of over 21% of the world’s population which remains vulnerable towards Covid-19. The member states have reported over a thousand cases of infections.
The SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC-IU), Gandhinagar has set up a website (http://www.covid19-sdmc.org/) on Covid-19 for shared use countries of the block.
The website aims to disseminate reliable information and updates on the evolving situation relating to Covid-19 in south Asia, and best practices being followed in member countries.
On March 15, at the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a video conference of SAARC leaders on combating Covid-19 was held. The Conference demonstrated the shared resolve of countries in the SAARC region to fight together the unprecedented challenge of the pandemic.
The numbers of Covid-19 cases in all SAARC countries have been growing steadily, further reinforcing the need for all to act in fullest solidarity to address the challenge and mitigate its impact, the statement said.
Following the video conference of SAARC leaders, India has created a Covid-19 Emergency Fund with an initial offer of $10 million to meet the costs of immediate actions.
Sri Lanka has committed $% million, Bangladesh $1.5 million, Nepal $1 million), Afghanistan $1 million, Maldives $200,000) and Bhutan $100,000) taking the total amount in the Covid-19 Emergency Fund to $18.3 million.
“It truly reflects the deeply shared sense of determination in the participating countries to act together,” the statement said.