Government adopts a four-pronged strategy towards a healthy India: Modi
New Delhi, February 23, 2021
The Government has adopted a four-pronged strategy while working towards a healthy India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today.
Addressing a webinar through video conference on effective implementation of Budget provisions in the Health sector, Modi said the budget allocated to the health sector in this year's budget is unprecedented and showed the Government’s commitment to providing better healthcare to every citizen.
Explaining the Government’s strategy, he said the first was “Prevention of illness and Promotion of Wellness”. Measures such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Yoga, timely care and treatment of pregnant women and children aimed to achieve this goal.
The second was to “provide cheap and effective treatment to the poorest of the poor” with schemes like Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras.
The third was to “increase the quality and quality of health infrastructure and health care professionals”. For the past six years, premier institutions like AIIMS were being expanded and the number of medical colleges being increased all over the country.
The fourth was to “work on mission mode to overcome obstacles”. Mission Indradhanush has been extended to the tribal and far-flung areas of the country. India has advanced its target to eradicate TB by five years to 2025 from the World’s target of 2030.
The protocols adopted in preventing COVID could be similarly adopted for checking TB as the disease spreads through droplets of the infected people. Wearing masks and early diagnosis and treatment were important in the prevention of TB.
Referring to the challenges and difficulties faced by the country due to the COVID pandemic, he expressed happiness in India being able to overcome the challenge and saving many lives. He credited the achievement to the combined efforts of the government and private sector.
Within a few months, the country was able to set up a network of 2500 labs and reach a milestone of 21 crore tests from a mere dozen tests in the initial stages. “Corona taught us a lesson that we not only have to fight the epidemic today but also prepare the country for any such situation in future. Therefore, it is equally necessary to strengthen every field related to healthcare,” he added.
“We have to focus on everything from medical equipment to medicines, from ventilators to vaccines, from scientific research to surveillance infrastructure, from doctors to epidemiologists so that the country is better prepared for any health disaster in future,” Modi said.
This was the inspiration behind the PM Aatma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Scheme. Under this scheme, it has been decided that a modern ecosystem would be developed from research to testing and treatment in the country itself. This scheme would increase capabilities in every spectrum.
The Prime Minister said as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, local bodies will get more than Rs 70,000 crore keeping health services in mind. The government's emphasis was not only on investment in health care but also to expand access to health care in far-flung areas of the country.
It should be ensured that these investments not only improve health but also increase employment opportunities, he added.
Modi said the world now clearly appreciates the strength and resilience shown by India’s health sector owing to the demonstration of its experience and talent during the pandemic. The demand for Indian doctors, Indian nurses, Indian paramedical staff, Indian medicines and Indian vaccines will increase across the world.
The world’s attention would shift towards India’s Medical Education System and there would be a huge influx of foreign students to study medicine in India, he added.
“We have to work faster after the great feat we achieved in manufacturing ventilators and equipment during the pandemic as there is an increased international demand for these.
He asked the participants if India could dream of providing all the necessary medical equipment to the world in a cost-effective manner and focus on how to make India a global supplier affordably and sustainably with user-friendly technology.
The Prime Minister lauded the efforts of the AYUSH sector during the coronavirus period. AYUSH's infrastructure has also been of great help in the country regarding increasing immunity and scientific research. The world was experiencing the impact of traditional medicines and ingredients in improving health along with the vaccine in controlling the COVID-19. He announced that WHO proposed to establish a Global Centre of Traditional Medicine in India.
He said this was an opportune moment to take the accessibility and affordability of the health sector to its next level. Enhanced use of modern technology in the health sector was needed to achieve this goal. The Digital Health Mission would help common people to get effective treatment at their convenience.
Modi said that though India has become the pharmacy of the world today it was still dependent on imports for the raw materials. He lamented that such dependence did not augur well for the pharma industry and was a huge obstacle in providing affordable medicines and healthcare to the poor.
He said four schemes have been launched in the Union Budget to promote self-reliance in the sector. Production Linked Incentives were to be given for the production of medicines and medical equipment in the country. Likewise, mega parks for Medicines and Medical devices were being set up.
The country needed wellness centres, district hospitals, critical care units, health surveillance infrastructure, modern labs and telemedicine. “We have to ensure that the people of the country, whether they are the poorest of the poor, even if they live in remote areas, receive the best possible treatment. For this to happen, the central government, the state governments and local bodies of the country should work together to get better results.
The Prime Minister said the private sector could support PPP models in creating a network of public health laboratories as well as a stake in PMJAY. There could also be a partnership on the National Digital Health Mission, digital health records of citizens and other cutting edge technology.