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India is ready to share an open-source version of the CoWIN platform free of cost, with more than 50 countries from across Central Asia, Latin America, and Africa have shown interest in the software, R.S. Sharma, chief executive officer National Health Authority and chairman of the CoWIN panel said on Monday.

CoWIN, the digitalized platform being used for implementation of the nationwide covid-19 vaccination programme, has become popular worldwide and countries including Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, and Panama, have shown interest in having a CoWIN like system to run their vaccination drive, Sharma said.

“The Prime Minister has directed to share an opensource version of the CoWIN platform that could be used by multiple countries. In five months CoWIN has grown to 300 million plus registration. CoWIN is a citizen-centric platform and provides a single source of truth till the district level. From the beginning it was ensured that the platform can be easily used to schedule, reschedule, and cancel appointments," said Sharma during the annual flagship Public Health Summit 2021 organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with the theme “Emerging Imperatives in Strengthening Public Health for India".

E-voucher for covid-19 vaccination, which is person and purpose specific, will be launched very soon, he said.

“Many services can be digitally delivered and the idea of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) is based on this concept. India can actually execute and implement NDHM. India has created digital artefacts such as Aadhaar, which will enable delivery of digital services. One such digital product created is the E-voucher. NDHM will house all kinds of databases, which will have a facility for the patient to fetch his/her records. One of the silver linings of the corona period is that we are at ease with digital consultation," said Sharma.

As India continues its battle against covid-19, the concept of resilience has rapidly evolved to include not only the resilience of health systems but also of businesses, workplaces, leadership, community, lifestyle, and collaborations. This has opened up new areas of collaborations.

Public health experts have said that technology can drive the public health system.

“We need to look ahead and strengthen our public health system. We need to be prepared for such a pandemic in future. Our basic aim is to have equitable access in remote areas. We should look at 2.5% of gross domestic product as healthcare expenditure. Health is a state subject but there is a lack of coordination among states. Some challenges that need to be met are under investment as far as healthcare is concerned," said Dr Randeep Guleria, chairman, CII public health council, and director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

“The public health system should be driven by tech and data. There is a need to provide tele-health and tele-diagnostics in rural parts of India and industry has an important role to play. Also, there is a need for a robust electronic healthcare system. In terms of human resources, there is a need to increase doctor-patient and nurse-patient ratio and the last challenge is that of improving infrastructure," he said.

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