Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi digitally inaugurated the Global CoWIN conclave today. Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare addressed the inaugural session of Co-WIN Global Conclave through Video Conference. The conclave was attended by dignitaries from 142 countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Guyana, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis and Zambia amongst several others.
The conclave was jointly organized by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and National Health Authority (NHA) with an objective to extend the Co-WIN platform as a digital public good to the world. CoWIN has guided India’s Public Health response to confront, combat and control the pandemic in a systematic and sustained manner. The robust, inclusive and scalable system can prevent rent-seeking, black marketing and other malpractices.
The address of Union Health Minister is as follows:
I am delighted to welcome all of you here today for this historic Global CoWIN Conclave. It is an honour to be addressing this august gathering of 400 participants from 142 countries, 20 embassies and UN offices in India. I am also delighted to note that our distinguished participants include ministers, health officials and experts from different countries across the globe.
India has always upheld its belief in the ancient philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which means the entire world is one family. And this conclave is a shining example of the same.
I must say my government is more than glad to share with our extended global family the path-breaking, next-gen digital platform ‘Co-WIN’ which has been indigenously developed in India and is powering the rapid progress of one of the world’s largest vaccination drives against COVID-19.
Just recently in India, we marked the completion of six years of our Digital India initiative. A brainchild of our visionary Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji, various endeavors under the initiative have been helping us transform the lives of 1.3 billion plus Indians, drastically improving access to welfare schemes & services, plugging leakages and ensuring equitable access to growth & progress for one and all. Financial inclusion, furthering innovation & entrepreneurship, e-learning, health for all are just a few areas where giant strides have been made with the help of technology.
In my humble opinion, Co-WIN is the crown jewel of our Digital India initiative. This platform shall go down in history for facilitating inoculation of a large percentage of the world’s population with ease, while simultaneously ensuring complete transparency. The accolades the platform has been winning globally and the interest expressed by so many partner nations in seeking our technology, expertise & know-how in this domain just reaffirms my belief.
For more than a year and a half now, combating this pandemic has been the dominant agenda for countries the world over. It is one of the most challenging public health crisis in human history. COVID-19 has infected millions of people and has had a devastating impact on the livelihood of many more.
As the dark clouds of the pandemic engulfed the entire globe, a silver lining emerged in the form of heightened global solidarity and enhanced cooperation between nations. We have observed collaborations at a scale and pace never seen before. Even though COVID-19 enforced lockdowns and compulsion to maintain physical distance, it has only brought humankind closer to work together with greater collective resolve to overcome this unprecedented challenge.
Throughout this pandemic, we have been keeping a close eye on the fast-evolving global situation while continually devising and revising effective strategies to manage COVID-19, guided by scientific evidence and following best practices. With the aid of technology, we have been able to execute large-scale surveillance to effectively implement our ‘test, track & treat’ strategy helping us attain one of the lowest fatality rates in the world.
All this while, our scientists worked at lightning speed to provide us with 2 vaccines against COVID19 in record time which helped us kick- start our Vaccination Drive in mid-January.
As remarkable as this achievement has been, it was not the only challenge in front of us. With a country of more than 1.3 billion people, we faced a mammoth challenge of ensuring fair and equitable distribution of the vaccines as well as their last mile delivery.
Privy to the herculean task ahead of us, India started working on this front well in advance. For a successful vaccination programme we needed the active participation of our entire health infrastructure across the public and private sector. Further, we also needed to develop a robust system that can prevent rent-seeking, black-marketing and other mal-practices which if not checked can thwart a mass vaccination drive.
Taking cognizance of these challenges, empowered groups of domain experts were quickly constituted to meticulously plan and subsequently execute the vaccination drive.
The backbone of this drive had to be a comprehensive platform which would ensure equitable coverage across all our States and Union Territories ensure inclusive distribution of vaccines using data to remove information asymmetry and align stakeholders. And continuous tracking of Adverse Events Following Immunization to not only respond to help such citizens to overcome Adverse Events but also generate data for policy making.
Finally, this platform needed to ensure ease of use while also offering multilingual access.
With the agenda in place, experts from my Ministry of Health and those from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology came together to co-create this Co-WIN platform in coordination with various other stakeholders, giving birth to the robust IT system for planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of COVID-19 vaccination in India.
Today, I am proud to say that Co-WIN is the bedrock of India’s vaccination drive that handles overall management of citizen registration, appointment scheduling, vaccinations and certification. The transparent system allows tracking of each dose of vaccine, monitoring of supplies at vaccination facilities to record the demand at a granular level. It has, in fact, enabled vaccine accessibility and inclusivity for all.
As we speak, India is inching closer to administering 360 million COVID19 vaccine doses. A feat achieved in less than 6 months since the launch of our vaccination drive and we are committed to inoculating our entire adult population by December 2021.
The spirit of collaboration has probably been the greatest learning from this pandemic. Shared challenges such as the current public health crisis can only be addressed through shared actions and resources.
The fact that vaccinating everyone is key to containing and ending the pandemic, cannot be emphasised enough. The need of the hour is to speed up the pace of vaccinating people across the world. For this, we are excited to offer the Co-WIN platform as a technology tool that can be used for greater public good around the world. I hope all your countries are able to gain value and benefit from our offering.
Our CoWIN platform is a mirror of the success of the Digital India program which has witnessed a consistent upward growth trajectory, achieving numerous milestones and dotted with flagship initiatives.
We are also spearheading the National Digital Health Mission which will help to deliver many services digitally. The NDHM will house all kinds of databases which will have a facility for the patient to fetch his or her records, whenever required.
Information technology and communication technologies have huge potential to provide new opportunities and challenges especially for developing economies. India is now harnessing technologies along with vast economic reforms to open up Indian markets to global businesses and investments.Our focus on amplifying digitisation has deepened and we have begun to acknowledge its potential to transform India into a true technology leader.