Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

India’s G20 Presidency: Strengthening Global Health Governance for Safer and Equitable World


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Universal Health Coverage, challenges and India's G20 presidency


Central Idea

  • India’s G20 presidency is gaining momentum, with a focus on harnessing shared responsibilities and collaborative governance to enhance global safety from pandemics. It seeks to bridge the gap between the Global North and Global South, recognizing the inclusive memberships of G20 and other plurilateral arrangements that span the global community.

Importance of Health as a global public good

  • Interconnectedness: In today’s interconnected world, diseases can quickly spread across borders, transcending geographical boundaries. The health of individuals and communities in one part of the world can have direct implications for others. Therefore, addressing health issues becomes a shared responsibility for all nations.
  • Impact on Global Stability: Health crises, such as pandemics, can have severe social, economic, and political consequences. They can disrupt economies, strain healthcare systems, and cause social unrest. By ensuring health as a global public good, we contribute to global stability, sustainable development, and peaceful coexistence.
  • Humanitarian Imperative: Health is a fundamental human right. Everyone deserves access to quality healthcare and the opportunity to lead a healthy life. Treating health as a global public good ensures equitable access to healthcare services, regardless of an individual’s nationality or socioeconomic status.
  • Economic Productivity: Healthy populations are essential for economic productivity and growth. By investing in health as a global public good, we can create conditions for individuals to thrive, contribute to their communities, and participate actively in economic activities.
  • Prevention and Preparedness: Addressing health as a global public good requires proactive measures to prevent and prepare for health emergencies. By investing in disease surveillance, research, and robust healthcare systems globally, we can better detect and respond to outbreaks, mitigating their impact and saving lives.
  • Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: Recognizing health as a global public good encourages collaboration among nations. By sharing knowledge, best practices, and resources, countries can collectively work towards improving public health outcomes, fostering innovation, and finding solutions to complex health challenges.
  • Achieving Sustainable Development Goals: Health is intricately linked to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including good health and well-being (SDG 3), poverty eradication (SDG 1), and gender equality (SDG 5). Treating health as a global public good support the achievement of these interconnected goals, leading to a more equitable and sustainable world.

India’s response to Covid-19: Whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach

  • Early Measures and Nationwide Lockdown: India implemented one of the world’s largest and strictest nationwide lockdowns in March 2020 to contain the spread of the virus. This decision aimed to break the chain of transmission and provide time to strengthen healthcare infrastructure.
  • Testing and Surveillance: India significantly ramped up its testing capacity, expanding the network of testing laboratories across the country. The government implemented various testing strategies, including rapid antigen tests and RT-PCR tests, to detect and track Covid-19 cases.
  • Healthcare Infrastructure: To bolster healthcare infrastructure, the government initiated several measures such as establishing dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, increasing the number of ICU beds, ventilators, and oxygen supply, and mobilizing healthcare professionals to regions facing surges in cases.
  • Vaccine Development and Rollout: India played a crucial role in vaccine development, with its indigenous vaccine candidates receiving regulatory approval. The country launched an ambitious vaccination drive, prioritizing healthcare workers, frontline workers, and vulnerable populations. India also contributed to global vaccine supply through the export of vaccines under the Vaccine Maitri initiative.
  • Economic Relief Measures: Recognizing the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, the government introduced economic relief measures, including financial assistance, direct benefit transfers, and welfare schemes to support vulnerable sections of society affected by lockdowns and job losses.
  • Collaborations and International Aid: India engaged in international collaborations, sharing its experiences and expertise, and cooperating with other countries in areas such as research, drug repurposing, and knowledge exchange. The country also received international assistance in the form of medical supplies and equipment.
  • Focus on Healthcare Infrastructure and Research: The government emphasized strengthening healthcare infrastructure, investing in research and development, and promoting indigenous manufacturing of medical equipment and supplies. Efforts were made to enhance testing capacity, develop innovative solutions, and support research on therapies and diagnostics.
  • Communication and Awareness: The government and health authorities prioritized public communication and awareness campaigns to disseminate accurate information, promote preventive measures, and combat misinformation related to the virus.


What is Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030?

  • UHC 2030 is a global movement and partnership that aims to accelerate progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by the year 2030.
  • UHC 2030 is a collaborative initiative led by multiple stakeholders, including governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector, with the goal of ensuring that all individuals and communities have access to essential healthcare services without suffering financial hardship.
  • UHC 2030 builds upon the commitment made by United Nations member states in 2015 through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Challenges in achieving UHC by 2030?

  • Financing: Adequate and sustainable financing is crucial for UHC. Many countries struggle with limited healthcare budgets, inefficient resource allocation, and inadequate public financing. Mobilizing sufficient funds to cover the costs of expanding healthcare services and ensuring financial protection for all individuals can be a significant challenge.
  • Health Workforce: The availability, distribution, and quality of healthcare professionals pose challenges to UHC. Many countries face shortages of skilled healthcare workers, particularly in rural and remote areas. Strengthening the health workforce, ensuring equitable distribution, and improving their training and retention are critical for delivering quality healthcare services.
  • Health Infrastructure: Insufficient and inadequate healthcare infrastructure, including facilities, equipment, and technologies, can hinder the achievement of UHC. Many regions, especially in low-income countries, lack the necessary healthcare infrastructure to provide essential services to all populations. Investments in infrastructure development and strengthening are required to expand access and ensure quality care.
  • Inequities and Vulnerable Populations: UHC aims to address health inequities and reach vulnerable and marginalized populations. However, socioeconomic disparities, gender inequalities, and discrimination can hinder equitable access to healthcare services. Special attention is needed to address these inequities and ensure that UHC benefits all individuals, irrespective of their social or economic status.
  • Health Information Systems: Establishing robust health information systems is essential for effective UHC implementation. However, many countries face challenges in data collection, management, and utilization. Strengthening health information systems, including electronic health records and data analytics, is crucial for monitoring progress, making informed decisions, and improving service delivery.
  • Political Will and Governance: UHC requires strong political commitment and effective governance. Political will at the national level is necessary to prioritize UHC, allocate resources, and implement necessary policy reforms. Ensuring transparency, accountability, and efficient governance mechanisms are crucial to prevent corruption, ensure equitable service delivery, and maintain public trust.
  • Changing Disease Patterns: The evolving burden of diseases, including the rise of non-communicable diseases, poses challenges to UHC. Chronic conditions require long-term management and specialized care, placing additional strain on healthcare systems. Adapting healthcare delivery models and integrating prevention and control strategies for these diseases are essential components of UHC.
  • Global Health Security: Public health emergencies and global health security threats, as witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic, can disrupt healthcare systems and hinder progress towards UHC. Strengthening health emergency preparedness and response capacities is vital to mitigate the impact of outbreaks and ensure continuity of healthcare services.


How India’s G20 presidency: Significant role in achieving UHC by 2030

  • Knowledge Sharing and Best Practices: As the G20 president, India can facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practices among member countries. This includes sharing successful UHC models, innovative healthcare delivery approaches, and strategies to overcome challenges. By promoting knowledge exchange, countries can learn from each other’s experiences and accelerate progress towards UHC.
  • Advocacy for UHC: India can use its platform as G20 president to advocate for UHC as a global priority. Through diplomatic channels and international forums, India can emphasize the importance of UHC in achieving sustainable development and equitable healthcare access. This advocacy can encourage other G20 member countries to prioritize UHC and align their policies and actions accordingly.
  • Collaboration with Global Health Organizations: India’s G20 presidency can facilitate collaboration with global health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank, and other relevant entities. By working closely with these organizations, India can contribute to the development and implementation of strategies and initiatives that support UHC, including capacity building, technical assistance, and funding mechanisms.
  • Promoting Innovative Financing Mechanisms: India can explore and promote innovative financing mechanisms for UHC. This includes advocating for increased public investment in healthcare, exploring public-private partnerships, and encouraging the development of social health insurance schemes. By identifying and sharing successful financing models, India can provide valuable insights to other G20 countries on sustainable funding for UHC.
  • Strengthening Primary Healthcare Systems: India’s G20 presidency can focus on strengthening primary healthcare systems, which are integral to UHC. This involves enhancing access to quality primary healthcare services, addressing health workforce shortages, improving infrastructure, and promoting preventive and promotive healthcare measures. Sharing India’s experiences and initiatives in primary healthcare can inspire other countries to invest in this essential aspect of UHC.
  • Leveraging Digital Health Technologies: India has made significant strides in adopting digital health technologies, and its G20 presidency can highlight the potential of these technologies in advancing UHC. By sharing digital health success stories and facilitating collaborations in areas such as telemedicine, health information systems, and mobile health applications, India can accelerate the adoption of digital solutions for healthcare access and delivery.
  • South-South Cooperation: India’s G20 presidency can promote South-South cooperation and collaboration among G20 member countries and other nations from the Global South. By fostering partnerships, sharing experiences, and supporting capacity-building efforts, India can facilitate collective progress towards UHC in regions that face similar challenges.


  • India’s G20 presidency aims to leverage collaborative governance and shared responsibilities to create a safer world from pandemics. India’s engagement with Japan’s G7 presidency and the focus on resilient, equitable, and sustainable UHC and global health architecture development further demonstrate shared responsibilities and the commitment to addressing public health emergencies. Through collective efforts, we can heal our planet, foster harmony within our global family, and offer hope for a better future.

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