‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ concept may remove health inequities
By Satish K Gupta*
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the deep-seated global health inequities that exist in our world. As the virus ravaged countries across the globe, the response from the international community was unprecedented, resulting in the rapid development of vaccines and other tools to fight the pandemic. However, as time passed, the spirit of collaboration waned, and countries became more inward-looking, leading to an unequal distribution of vaccines. As it is, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) draft policy on pandemic prevention still awaits approval by all nations.
Low and middle-income countries, already facing significant health and economic challenges, were left at the bottom of the vaccine priority list, highlighting the need for fair allocation and equitable distribution of resources. Despite efforts such as Covax, which aimed to provide vaccines to developing countries, more needs to be done to ensure that everyone has access to vaccines and other critical resources.
One guiding principle that can help us address these inequities is the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which translates to “the world is one family.” This principle, deeply rooted in Indian culture, emphasizes the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and the need for compassion and respect for one another. Adopting this principle can help us shift from a narrow, nationalistic perspective to a more global, cooperative one, where we work together to address the challenges facing humanity as a whole.
It is crucial that all countries adopt the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam in its true spirit, working together to ensure that everyone has access to vaccines and other critical resources. The international community must come together to eliminate export restrictions, encourage vaccine donations, and support the development of vaccine distribution infrastructure in developing countries. Furthermore, we need to revisit the International Health Regulations to ensure that they are equitable and do not favour developed countries over developing ones.
In conclusion, the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam provides a powerful framework for addressing global health inequities. By embracing this principle, we can work together to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background or economic status, has access to the resources they need to stay healthy and safe. Only then can we truly say that we are all part of one global family, united in our efforts to overcome the challenges facing us today and in the future?
*Dr. Satish K Gupta is an MD in Medicines, a Visiting Senior Consultant Physician and Internist at Max Super Speciality Hospital, and a Clinical Assistant Professor at GS Medical College, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut. He is the author of Journey of COVID in India: A Doctor’s Perspective.