Prime Miniter Narendra Modi on Thursday called for making a regional air ambulance agreement among neighbouring countries for “medical contingencies” and a special visa scheme for doctors and nurses to facilitate their travel within the region during health emergencies on the request of the receiving country.
PM Modi made the suggestions during an address at a workshop on “Covid-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward”. Countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka attended the workshop.
“I am very happy that the health officials and experts from countries in our immediate neighbours and extended neighbourhood are meeting today. Let me start by conveying my best wishes to all of you for a very productive discussion today,” he said.
PM Modi called for “cooperative and collaborative spirit” in the region for the rapid deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Hopes of our region and the world are focus on rapid deployment of vaccines. In this too, we must maintain the same cooperative and collaborative spirit. Over the past year, our health cooperation has achieved so much,” he said.
PM Modi also suggested the creation of a regional platform for collating, compiling, and studying data about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Can our civil aviation ministries coordinate a regional air ambulance agreement for medical contingencies? Can we create a regional platform for collating, compiling, and studying data about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among our population?” PM Modi asked.
“Can we consider creating a special visa scheme for our doctors and nurses? So that they can travel quickly within our region during health emergencies at the request of the receiving country. If the 21st Century is to be the Asian century, it cannot be without greater integration among the countries of South Asia and Indian Ocean island countries,” he added.