India proposes information exchange over Covid19 amongst SAARC countries

India proporsed that a network of experts representing Health Services may set up on whatsapp to enable exchange of relevant information

New Delhi: India has proposed a “shared electronic platform for all SAARC nations to share and exchange information, knowledge, expertise and best practices for jointly combating the coronavirus epidemic”.

India “proposed that till such time the electronic platform is fully operational, a network of experts representing the Health Services of all SAARC countries may set up on email/whatsapp to enable exchange of all relevant information between the SAARC countries on real time basis”.

The suggestion was made earlier at a video conference of health professionals on Thursday on the Coronavirus Pandemic in which all eight SAARC member-nations including Pakistan participated, the MEA said in a statement on Friday, adding that the participation was at the level of Director General of Health Services (DGHS) and chaired by India.

Pakistan had been the only SAARC country not to make a monetary contribution to the SAARC Covid-19 fund that had been proposed by India and subsequently created and operationalised.

But despite that New Delhi on Friday said “the enthusiastic and constructive participation by all SAARC member states demonstrated the shared commitment to work together to defeat the challenge posed by the coronavirus epidemic in the region”.

The MEA said, “It was informed that considerable work has already gone into the creation of the (shared electronic) platform, which could also serve as a multipurpose vehicle to further discuss and conduct activities such as online training for emergency response personnel, knowledge partnerships, sharing of expertise in disease surveillance, including the corresponding software, and joint research for new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for epidemic diseases.”

It added, “The Prime Minister had announced at the Video Conference of SAARC Leaders on 15 March 2020 that health professionals of all SAARC member states could hold a video conference to carry forward collaboration in the common fight against Covid19 at the practical level. As implementation of that announcement, a video conference of health professionals representing all SAARC countries at the level of Director General of Health Services (DGHS) was held on 26 March 2020.”

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