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CASTRIES – The government of India has donated medical supplies and a grant of US$1million to St Lucia in a friendly gesture, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic under the India-UNDP Fund.
In a statement, the St Lucia High Commission to India said that from the beginning of this crisis, India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been outward focused and recognised the need for global engagement.
It said the country has been engaged with global leaders across the world on a regular basis, and has made a major effort to be a responsible member of the international community and take a far-sighted view that will stand in good stead in the post-pandemic world.
“India is committed to supporting its friends and partners in the collective fight against the pandemic, including by providing essential medical supplies,” the statement noted.
“Global access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to combat COVID19 is vital for all countries and peoples. India believes that there should be free and open sharing of medical research and new drugs and vaccines”.
In tune with this spirit, the statement noted that India has responded positively to the sudden worldwide demand for Hydroxychloroquine and has stepped up production to supply this (and many other medicines) to St Lucia and many other countries in every region of the world.
“Despite huge demands amid lockdown, through concerted efforts of Government of India and private sector, India was able to supply, after ensuring adequate domestic stockpiles, large volumes of HCQ and Paracetamol drugs to consumers across the world.
“Due to its world-class pharmaceutical industry with brand recognition in all geographies and markets as the producer of choice for critical medications, India’s role as a “pharmacy of the world” has come into sharp focus”.
“India first decided to gift HCQ and Paracetamol to immediate neighbours, and then to other badly affected countries in Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, South America and the Caribbean.”
“As a token of gesture of friendship, India has also allowed large scale licensed commercial export of HCQ and Paracetamol has been de-licensed for production.
“Rapid Response Teams (RRT) comprising doctors, nurses and paramedics (from the Armed Forces) have already deployed in Maldives, Nepal and Kuwait at the request of their governments.”
The High Commission statement noted that besides supplying these drugs, Government of India’s humanitarian relief includes the supply of essential lifesaving drugs, antibiotics, medical consumables, and other laboratory and hospital equipment to a number of countries including St. Lucia.
Despite that, the lockdown has made the logistics of humanitarian relief operation extremely complex, innovative means are being used to ensure delivery, it said.
“India is emerging as a net provider of health security on a global scale and is enhancing its reputation as the “pharmacy of the world”. It is also making its medical and public health expertise and capacity available to the entire South Asian region.
A COVID-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC countries, based on voluntary contributions, has been created.
India has made US$10 million available for this fund. (CMC)