India’s newly appointed Minister of Health, the Honorable Mansukh Mandaviya voiced support for the “Vaccinate Our World” (VOW) campaign during a recent meeting with AHF India and said his government will continue backing international efforts to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The purpose of the visit was to congratulate the Minister on his appointment, brief him on the services AHF provides to 2,760 patients in India, and the latest VOW activities, including demonstrations against pharma greed. The team also asked the Minister to support the VOW campaign by calling for the expansion of vaccine access and production capacity around the world ahead of the G20 summit in Rome this October.
“VOW (Vaccinate Our World) is a much-needed activity to save the world, and note – India was the first country to talk about vaccine equity and not only just talk, but donated vaccines to developing countries and COVAX facility during the initial days of the pandemic,” said Minister Mandaviya. “India will continue to put pressure on the G20 to work in unison to secure patents waivers for COVID vaccines.”
For his part, the Minister shared that he is planning to pilot a program in India, which would allow People Living with HIV to pick up their antiretroviral medications at any pharmacy using an electronic voucher, and pharmacies would in turn be able to redeem these vouchers for reimbursement from the government. Currently, treatment is only accessible to patients through specific government facilities. AHF India might become one of such pilot sites.
AHF representatives attending the meeting with the Minister included AHF Ambassador Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, Director of Operations and Partnerships Elizabeth Michael, and AHF India Country Program Director Dr. V. Sam Prasad.
Prince Manvendra, who like the Minister comes from the State of Gujarat, said he is confident in Mr. Mandaviya’s ability to push for greater vaccine access. “I am sure that our young and dynamic Health Minister will secure patent waivers for the benefit of the global population.”
“VOW advocacy at the G20 Summit in Rome and through social media will put pressure on other G20 countries to act on vaccine access and will support the able leadership of the Honorable Prime Minister Shri. Modi and the Honorable Health Minister Shri. Mansukh Mandaviya on global vaccine equity,” said Dr. V. Sam Prasad