India’s health sector overcame trial by fire during Covid-19 pandemic: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi

The prestige of India’s health sector and trust in it has increased manifold across the globe after it successfully overcame the trial by fire during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, PM Modi said on Tuesday and asserted time has come to take accessibility and affordability in healthcare to the next level.

Addressing a webinar on effective implementation of the Union Budget’s provisions in the health sector, he said the budget allocated to health this year is unprecedented and shows the government’s commitment to provide better healthcare.

Modi said his government is taking a holistic approach to healthcare and is not just focused on treatment but also wellness. To keep India healthy, the government is working on four fronts simultaneously — prevention of illness and promotion of wellness, providing cheap and effective treatment to the poorest of the poor, increasing quality and quantity of health infrastructure and healthcare professionals, and working on mission mode to overcome obstacles.

The PM said it is time to take accessibility and affordability in healthcare to the next level for which use of modern technology is being increased. “Last year was in a way like ‘agnipareeksha’ (trial by fire) for the country and particularly for the health sector. I am happy the country’s health sector was successful in this ‘agnipareeksha’. We managed to save so many lives,” he said, crediting the achievement to combined efforts of the government and private sector.

The PM recalled how, within a few months, the country could set up a network of 2,500 labs and how it could reach a milestone of 21 crore tests from a mere dozen tests.

Modi said the pandemic has taught a lesson which is not just to fight the virus but prepare the country for any such future situation.

“From medical equipment to medicines, from ventilators to vaccines, from scientific research to surveillance infrastructure, from doctors to epidemiologists, we have to pay attention to all so that the country is better prepared for any health disaster in future,” he said.

This is the inspiration behind the PM Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Scheme under which it has been decided a modern ecosystem would be developed from research to testing and treatment in the country itself, he said.

The PM said as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, local bodies will get more than Rs70,000 crore keeping health services in mind.

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