Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday that it is critical to build and strengthen core capacities of developing countries for future preparedness, response and resilience towards COVID-19.
Participating in the 32nd Commonwealth Health Ministers' Meeting through a video link, Vardhan stressed on facilitating universal and affordable access to all relevant medical products and technologies, both existing and new.
"These should be made available in a fair and equitable manner to tackle COVID-19," he was quoted as saying in a statement.
The theme of the conference was 'Delivering a coordinated Commonwealth COVID-19 response'.
Vardhan said Indian scientists are working on developing of vaccine, drugs, cost-effective diagnostic kits and various life-saving equipment with the active support of the government.
"It is critical to build and strengthen core capacities of developing countries particularly the least developed countries for future preparedness, response and resilience," he said.
The Union health minister said that in implementing the world's largest lockdown to prevent the spread of this the virus, India's aim was to protect lives by mitigating the explosive spread of the disease and by ensuring that the country's healthcare system was able to cope with the rise in cases of the respiratory ailment.
"At the same time, we are mindful of saving lives as well as livelihoods and are therefore keeping all essential services out of the purview of the lockdown. We are gradually easing the restrictions especially in areas where we have managed to contain the disease," he told the conference.
Vardhan also said that India took all necessary and timely steps including surveillance at points of entry, evacuation of nationals abroad, surveillance in community through disease monitoring network, health infrastructure strengthening, training and capacity building of health staff, risk communication and community involvement as part of its management efforts.
India has provided essential medicines such as hydroxychloroquine to almost 100 "needy countries", extending solidarity and support during this time of crisis, he said, adding, "It is important to work on the causes of the pandemic and discover drugs and vaccine to control transmission and prevent its recurrence."
"We need to mutually support and share our best practices and explore innovative ways to address new threats and challenges in the in the times after the pandemic," Vardhan added.