Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare released the document titled- “Chasing the Virus: A Public Health Response to the COVID 19 Pandemic” here today.This publication is a chronicle of the response to the pandemic for the period January 2020 to November 2020.The Union Health Minister expressed immense pleasure on the release of comprehensive response of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to the COVID-19 pandemic in India. He said, “This is a historical moment for all of us. On 30th January, we had our first case and today after 1 year and 2 months, we have chased more than 1.2 croreCOVID19 cases. But these are the cases that we have chased. There may be many other cases which may not be in our record. But the matter of happiness is that out of the 1.2 Cr cases, 1.13 Cr pople have recovered.”He further highlighted as to how this unprecedented pandemic of global magnitude was converted into an exceptional opportunity. He said, “The hindrances that were faced in the initial days of pandemic were resolved.We used to import PPE kits initially.Now, we not only manufacture sufficient kits for India but we are exporting them to other countries. The labs which started from just 1 in January 2020 have now expanded to 2433 across the country. We are also exporting vaccines to many countries.”“The biggest lesson from our fight against the pandemic is that it gave us a major boost in confidence. The country can fight any adverse situation and challenges coming our way. We have fared better than many countries”, he added.
The Union Health Minister noted the need to publish this chronicle of the response to the pandemic. At the launch, he said, “The document “Chasing the Virus: A Public Health Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” is a factual narrative of the health systems response across the nation to this unprecedented health emergency. Volume-1 of this document, captures the various facets of the response spanning pandemic related actions as well as enabling health systems to provide uninterrupted access to non-COVID essential health services.We all know that we have fought this battle with contribution of every stakeholder. It will be difficult to document the efforts put in by all the people in fighting our battle against the pandemic.”Noting on how the success on the front of COVID19 can be replicated in our fight against Tuberculosis, the Union health Minister said, “Another goal in front of us is to eliminate the Tuberculosisby 2025. Our efforts of testing, tracing and treating in COVID19 can be replicated for treatment of Tuberculosis. The experience from the pandemic can be used to achieve the goal of eliminating TB by 2025.”At the end of the event, Dr Harsh Vardhan extended his good wishes to all those who have been phenomenal and instrumental in the fight against pandemic. He also expressed his hope that this document will go a long way in strengthening the healthcare system, in helping stakeholders to refine their strategies of dealing with pandemics & equip the health systems for the present & future health emergencies.Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Secretrary,MoHFW, Dr Sunil Kumar, DGHS, Ms VandanaGurnani, AS,MoHFW, Ms ArtiAhuja, AS,MoHFW, Dr ManoharAgnani, AS MoHFW, ShriLavAgarwal, JS MoHFW, ShriVikasSheel JS MoHFW, and other senior dignitaries were also present at the event.