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‘Prioritise investments in public health’: 40mn doctors write to G20 leaders | India News

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NEW DELHI: Over 40 million doctors, nurses and other health professionals from 90 countries, including many working on the frontline to fight Covid-19, have written to G20 leaders urging them “to put public health at the centre of their economic recovery packages” to help avoid future crises and make the world more resilient to them.
Over 200 medical associations, including 11 such groups from India, have signed the letter on behalf of their members including these over 40 million health professionals.
The letter asks G20 leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump, to prioritise investments in public health, clean air, clean water and a stable climate in the economic stimulus packages currently under consideration.
Supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Global Climate and Health Alliance and the Every Breath Matters, this joint appeal to the global leaders is the biggest health community mobilisation since the run-up to the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The signatories of this letter collectively represent more than half of global health professionals, including representatives from Indian medical fraternity.
“What the world needs now is a health recovery. Your stimulus plans must be a prescription for just that,” said the signatories while referring to current plans of big and emerging economies to inject trillions of dollars into the economy in the next 12-18 months.
“The enormous investments your governments will make over the coming months in key sectors like health care, transport, energy and agriculture must have health protection and promotion embedded at their core,” they said.
“It is inspiring to see the millions of nurses, doctors, and health workers, who are leading us through this defining health crisis of our time, equally speaking up to call for a healthy long-term recovery from Covid-19. Their letter to G20 leaders is fully in line with the WHO manifesto for a healthy and green recovery,” said Maria Neira, director of public health and environmental and social determinants of health at WHO.
The letter, sent to G20 leaders on early Tuesday morning (IST), follows a recent call to action where health professionals have proposed an initiative to convince leaders of every nation to double their climate action commitments to the Paris Agreement.
Similarly, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) – an intergovernmental organisation – has recently suggested that if countries made adequate investments in renewable energy between now and 2050, it would boost cumulative global GDP gains above business-as-usual by USD 98 trillion
and nearly quadruple renewable energy jobs to 42 million. This suggestion comes at a time when millions of jobs globally are on the line due to current Covid-19 crisis.
India medical groups that signed the letter on behalf of health professionals include Indian Medical Association, Association of Surgeons of India, Cardiology Society of India, Indian Academy of Paediatrics and Medical Students Association of India among others.

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