G20 declaration on Health: Mention of India’s 3 priorities, Digital push

  • Recently, all three health priorities of India’s G20 presidency found a mention in the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration released on Saturday.

The declaration

  • The declaration spoke of strengthening primary healthcare, health workforce, and essential health services to better-than-pre-pandemic levels, ideally within the next two to three years.
  • In addition to focusing on epidemics such as tuberculosis and AIDS, the G20 recognised the importance of research on long COVID.
  • The declaration also stressed the importance of one health approach — where diseases in animals, plants, and humans are tracked by the same mechanism — with focus on tackling antimicrobial resistance.
  • The G20 health track that concluded last month was manage to build consensus on all three of its priority areas, it also managed to launch a proposed repository of scalable digital health platforms.

Priorities of the declaration

  • Building resilient systems for health emergency prevention, preparedness, and response.
  • Strengthening cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector with focus on ensuring equitable availability and access to vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics during a pandemic.
  • Creating a platform for sharing digital health innovations and solutions to ensure better and universal health coverage, like CoWIN and e-Sanjeevani.
  • The consensus was reached with some compromises that India did not insist on countries contributing towards a $200-million fund for a digital health programme, or on a permanent platform for sharing knowledge, intellectual property rights, and resources for developing vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics.
Image of G20 countries: "G20 Leaders discussing global health priorities"

  • These members account for around 85% of the world GDP, 75% of the total international trade, and two-thirds of the global population.
  • In addition to these member countries, the G20 each year invites guest countries and international organisations such as the United Nations, World Bank, IMF, OECD, ASEAN, etc., to participate in its meetings.

Interim medical countermeasure platform

  • While there was no consensus on creating a permanent platform for ensuring equitable access to medical countermeasures during a pandemic, the committees agreed to develop an interim platform to promote an end-to-end network for research and manufacturing them till a legally binding pandemic treaty can be agreed upon.
  • The outcome document said that the interim platform should be led by an inclusive decision-making arrangement, including effective representation of low- and middle-income countries, and convened by the WHO.
  • Although there is an in-principal agreement by the G20 member countries on the need for such a platform, there is no clarity yet on how soon the platform can be developed.
  • Opposition of the platform
    • Delegates present at the negotiating table said the push for this interim platform has come from G7 countries, which currently hold the majority of the patents for drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines.
    • Even though the outcome document specifically mentions lower- and middle-income countries having a voice in the platform, many said it is likely to replicate the failures of the ACT accelerator — a similar platform developed to share medical countermeasures during Covid-19 — by giving more say to the G7 countries.
    • One of the senior delegates said, “This will replicate what the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) did.
    • Even the people who were on the table are not clear about the negotiations that happened during the pandemic.
    • Also, now that Covid-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern, those agreements no longer stand, and poorer countries have to keep paying high prices to maintain the level of vaccination.”
    • Along with the interim measure would be used as an excuse by the G7 countries to keep delaying a legally binding pandemic treaty.

Traditional medicine

  • India’s G20 presidency also pushed for integration of evidence-based traditional medicine practices with modern medicine.
  • A global summit on traditional medicine was hosted on the sidelines of the health ministers’ meeting last month.
  • The potential of evidence-based traditional and complementary medicine practices in public health delivery systems, provided they are rigorously and scientifically validated was acknowledged.


  • Therefore, G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration on health is significant declaration in the direction of accessible, affordable and inclusive availability of health facilities to diverse nations while focusing of developing and Least developed countries
  • However consistent efforts need to be made for permanent platform for ensuring equitable access to medical facilities.