Pakistan hosted a SAARC virtual meeting on COVID-19 on April 23, 2020. Explicitly, the video conference mainly comprised of health ministers from the various SAARC countries. However, the Director-General of Health Services represented India at the conference. Additionally, experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and Indian Council of Medical Research assisted him. India had earlier hosted a similar meet comprising of senior health professionals on 26.03.2020.
The country built upon the briefing made at the March 26 video conference. The representatives presented a detailed account of India’s comprehensive response to the current COVID-19 situation. This included stepping up production of essential materials and medicines and enhancing capabilities in research on drugs and vaccines; as well as successful use and promising future of new and innovative technology-based solutions such as the mobile app ‘Aarogya Setu’ to maximize community outreach and intervention.
The SAARC virtual meeting was an occasion for India to reaffirm its strong commitment towards greater sharing of knowledge, expertise and best practices in the joint fight against COVID-19 for the larger regional good. The country has developed an electronic platform, namely ‘SAARC COVID19 Information Exchange Platform (COINEX)’ for use by all SAARC countries. As the next major step, the platform will be launched for the exchange of specialized information and tools on COVID-19 among designated health professionals in the region. COINEX will also offer and facilitate various online training resources and e-learning modules.