‘We are living in a phase of a silent war’, says Dr Harsh Vardhan

Address to Boston Centre for Excellence in health and human development

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Dr Harsh Vardhan, union minister for Health and Family Welfare
Dr Harsh Vardhan, union minister for Health and Family Welfare

Dr Harsh Vardhan, union minister for Health and Family Welfare, digitally addressed the Boston Center of Excellence for Health and Human Development through Video Conference. Congratulating the Boston Center of Excellence (BoCE) for Health and Human Development for bringing together experts to research a better cure and better healthcare for all, Dr Harsh Vardhan compared the ongoing pandemic to a transitory state of our civilization.

He said, “We have not seen the Spanish Flu, World War I, and World war II. But we are living in a phase of a silent war. Over 100 million people perished. And in many cases, they could not be visited by their dear ones during the last moments of life. Their last-rites and funerals were also had to be done very humbly. And those millions who survived also have many complications, besides the financial burden put on them.”

Saluting millions of front-line health workers who bravely carried on with their duty despite risk and adversity, including professionals other than doctors and nurses like the janitors, the EMT, ambulance doctors who are unseen pillars of the health care system, Dr Harsh Vardhan elaborated India’s strategy to contain Covid.

In this regard, Dr Harsh Vardhan observed, “It is not the first one and definitely not the last one. But this Covid-19 will soon be a past episode of the 21st century. Our treatment protocol for Covid patients is well defined now. Fewer and fewer people infected are dying. We will have vaccines available very soon, and the cases will significantly go down in the next few months.”

Detailing that India has already mastered all components of modern medicine from antibiotics to emergency care, surgery, immunization, and vaccine, the minister noted that the focus is now on the cost, quality, and affordability of this system, which are becoming more complex. He elaborated that India has already made strides in remote diagnostics and treatment using the latest telemedicine technology to treat people in many of India’s 7,00,000 remote villages.

While Covid-19 has brought great miseries to millions of people, businesses, and trades, Dr Vardhan pointed out the silver lining in this episode along with India’s zeal to turn this crisis into an opportunity:

  • People appreciate the reduction in pollution due to the closure of factories and a reduction in vehicular traffic. There is a push for behavioral change to achieve similar outcomes in the future. The general public is becoming concerned about mother nature.
  • Office work, attending classes in schools and colleges is no more about being trapped in brick and mortar walls. The global community has successfully created virtual offices and classrooms, pushing the boundaries of our telecommunication capabilities.
  • The rapidness with which we have been able to create vaccines will have a cascading effect on new technologies that will help us shortly in faster drug discoveries, lower the cost, and make it more affordable for poorer sections of our population. The process that used to take ten years now produces vaccines almost in 10 months – developed, tested, and soon will be available in the market.
  • The knowledge of drug discovery will also help us develop several new frontiers. They may enable us to find a cure for many viral ailments that do not respond to antibiotics. He also expressed hope that this research may have potential in treating super-bugs.

Speaking on Yoga and Ayurveda, he mentioned them as India’s gift to the world. He said, “The ancient knowledge and health-management system have been using nature’s cure for millennia. The time has come for modern medicine and India’s traditional system to go together with an integrative approach to impact our lives and much better disease outcomes.” After that, he invited knowledge and technology experts and inventors to come to India, join hands with the country’s scientists and experts, and create a great collaborative platform to heal people all around the globe.

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