Published: 12th July 2021
Centre has set a six-month-long capacity-building goal to fight COVID, says new Health Minister
By the end of this year, the Centre wants to fix those gaps which led to a critical health crisis across the country leaving people dying on the roads due to unavailability of medical oxygen, beds
The Central government has started working on a comprehensive six-month capacity building plan to make India's health sector robust to avoid a health crisis, similar to the one that people faced due to lack of oxygen supply, hospital beds and medicines amid the second wave of COVID-19.
By the end of this year, the Centre wants to fix those gaps which led to a critical health crisis across the country leaving people dying on the roads due to unavailability of medical oxygen, beds in hospitals and medicine, the basic necessity of any patient in his fight against any illness. The target will be achieved through the Rs 23,000 crore COVID-19 emergency response package recently approved by the Cabinet.
As per the plan, each and every district across the country will be provided adequate funds for buying critical care medical requirements in emergency considering the possible third wave of Covid-19, which is expected in August-end or September as per the estimated calculations of top health experts in the country in case people do not properly follow prescribed COVID safety guidelines.
Among the capacity-building goal in terms of enhancing infrastructure in the health sector, the Central government would specially focus on oxygen supply, hospital beds, medicine and buying critical care medical requirements in an emergency.
Besides, there is a plan for paediatric care in all hospitals to provide the most effective healthcare for children, buffer stock at state and Centre level that can be used in case of any health crisis.
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, and Minister of Chemical and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday made it clear that the Centre's next six-month goal is to improve health infrastructure as well as fulfill the lapses that led to severe health crisis during the second wave of COVID-19. Officials said that the government's six-month step aims to boost health infrastructure in fight against the deadly virus which so far has infected 3,08,74,376 people, including the death of 4,08,764 persons, across the country.
While virtually inaugurating two pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants at Sir Takhtasinhji hospital in Gujarat's Bhavnagar, Mandaviya stressed on the need for better health infrastructure in the next six months noting the continuing challenge of COVID-19.
"We have learnt a lot from the second wave like oxygen supply, hospital beds and medicines. We have now ensured adequate funds in every district for buying critical care medical requirements in an emergency. The Cabinet has recently approved a Rs 23,000 crore package for COVID-19 emergency response," Mandaviya said.
"We have made adequate provisions for paediatric care in all hospitals to provide the most effective healthcare for children. We are also developing a system of buffer stock at state and centre level that can be used in case of any health crisis. Thus, a comprehensive plan and capacity building in the next 6 months is being taken up through this Covid package."
To tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the Union Cabinet on July 9 approved a new emergency response package worth Rs 23,123 crore, following the first meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's revamped cabinet on July 8.
Addressing a press briefing, India's new health minister Mandaviya on July 9 said that the government had announced a Rs 23,000-crore relief package "to avert the devastation caused by the second COVID wave".
The COVID-19 package will help set up paediatrics departments in 736 districts, 20,000 new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and acquire buffer stocks of medicines. Storage facilities for oxygen and medicines would also be created at the district level under the plan.
Out of the Rs 23,000 crore, around Rs 15,000 crore will be spent by the Centre and Rs 8,000 crore will be given to the states.