The past and future of healthcare under Modi
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CoronaVirus - National - Top News - June 1, 2020

The past and future of healthcare under Modi

Prime Minister Modi, in an address to university students, spoke about the various achievements of his government in healthcare and what he hopes for the future.

Speaking via video conference on the occasion of Foundation Dayat the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged more focus on three particular aspects of healthcare in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis – telemedicine, ‘Make in India’ and IT tools.

Commemorating the university’s 25th anniversary, he said that it was still young and this was a time to “think bigger and do better”, especially when the world was looking to the medical community for answers. It was reaching out to the doctors, nurses, medical staff, and researchers with hope and gratitude and counting on them to deliver “both care and cure”. He mentioned how the state was clamping down on violence and abuse against doctors and providing an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakhs to those working in the frontline.

He likened the “corona warriors” to soldiers without the uniform and said that they were invincible forces in the fight against the invisible enemy. He also spoke at the length about the reforms in healthcare and medical education over the past six years and the four pillars that make up the government’s efforts. These are an emphasis on preventive healthcare, affordable healthcare, improvements in medical and medical education infrastructure, and “mission mode implementation” of various schemes.

Wellness centers 40,000 of which have been opened, would focus on preventing lifestyle-related illnesses by promoting hygiene, yoga and general fitness, he said. He also pointed out that the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme has helped over one crore in less than two years, especially women in rural areas.

On the supply side, he spoke about the efforts of setting up 22 more AIIMS across the country and promised one medical college or post-graduate medical institute in every district. He said his government has seen to the largest increase in medical seats in the history of independent India – 30,000 MBBS seats and 15,000 post-graduate seats over the past five years.

He called for “maximum discussion and participation” on three things. One was on models that could popularise telemedicine on a large scale. The other is continued efforts to promote ‘Make in India’ in India’s health sector. He said that it was due to the work done in the early days of the campaign that the country was able to produce and supply over 1 crore PPEs and 1.5 crore masks to the medical sector. The final aspect was the increased use of IT tools in healthcare. The Arogaya Setu app which, for example, has been downloaded by over 12 crore people has been a great help in fighting the virus, he said.

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