In the post-Covid-19 era, the promotion of public health and disease prevention can only happen with change in policies and attitude, according to Soumya Swaminathan, former chief scientist, WHO and Chairperson, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation.

Participating in a panel discussion on ‘Creating a Healthier World in 2047: Role of India’ at the CII-SR annual regional meeting in Hyderabad on Friday, she said the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the existing inequalities in access to healthcare. “The diet, quality of air, individual behaviour and the infrastructure in cities will also influence health,’‘ Soumay Swaminthan said, adding that poor people are exposed to more health risks. “Look at things under an equity lens and not just from a vaccine perspective,’‘ she said. 

Pharma and healthcare sectors could contribute to global public health by going green.

Referring to misinformation in the social media during Covid-19, the scientist said, “Misinformation cost thousands of lives as they did not take vaccines. Strategies and ways to improve communication on social media should be looked into.” 

India’s ‘unique’ role

Roger Glass, Director, Fogarty International Centre, National Institute of Health, USA, said going forward, India can play a ‘unique’ role in public health by interventions and innovations like telemedicine. 

Shobana Kamineni, fomer CII President & Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals, moderated the discussion. She said a healthier world was important for fulfilling life for all. The basic imperatives for a healthier world were universal access to healthcare with equity, focus on non-communicable diseases and infections and strong healthcare infrastructure, among others, she added.