KATHMANDU, March 27: Health professionals of all SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) member states held a video conference on Thursday to carry forward collaboration in the common fight against COVID-19 at the practical level as announced during the Video Conference of SAARC Leaders on March 15.
Health professionals representing all SAARC countries at the level of Director General of Health Services (DGHS) held the video conference to discuss about the measures being taken by respective countries against COVID-19.
At this conference chaired by the DGHS of India, a wide range of issues relating to COVID-19 were discussed extensively with active and purposeful participation of all sides, according to MEA.
During the video conference, the Indian officials made a comprehensive presentation on India’s response, covering the aspects of disease surveillance, contact tracing, travel restrictions and evacuation, risk assessment, diagnostics, isolation and quarantine methods and facilities, clinical management of patients, treatment options and protocols and safety of healthcare providers.
Likewise, all other SAARC countries shared their own experiences of dealing with the COVID-19 challenge in their respective settings.
All countries also highlighted their specific vulnerabilities, capacities, best practices, gaps in resources and logistics, private sector participation as well as levels of preparedness. Community engagement and participation was identified as an important element in any anti-COVID-19 strategy to augment the large scale emergency measures undertaken by the governments in the SAARC region.
On the occasion, India 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.
"It was informed that considerable work has already gone into the creation of the 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," read the press statement.
The Indian side also 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 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 added in its statement.