Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said the recently launched PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, with an outlay of more than ₹64,000 crore, is aimed at filling critical gaps in public health infrastructure, especially in critical care and primary care facilities in both urban and rural areas.
Speaking at a press conference, the Minister pointed out that the Mission will prepare the health care sector to deal with any future outbreaks.
“COVID-19 has provided us with an opportunity to boost healthcare facilities, including laboratories, hospitals and diagnostic facilities at all the levels of healthcare,” said the Minister.
Highlighting some of the key features of PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, Dr. Mandaviya said that 134 different types of tests will be done for free at the district level.
He said that for the first time in Asia, two container-based hospitals, equipped with comprehensive medical facilities, will be stationed in Chennai and Delhi and kept at the ready to be swiftly mobilised by rail or air to respond to any calamity or disaster in the country.
“Initiatives under the Mission, including strengthening of points of entry will ring fence our borders against the import of new infectious diseases and pathogens. Health Emergency Operation Centres and the container based mobile hospitals shall further build capacities for effective emergency response during such times,” he said.
Stating that the pandemic showed the country the importance of ensuring regular medical services, the Minister said that development of critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts as proposed under the scheme, shall make the districts self-sufficient, to a large extent, in providing comprehensive treatment for infectious diseases without disruption to other essential health services and also augment the critical care capacities in the public health facilities.
The Mission is expected to bring about a paradigm shift in India’s healthcare infrastructure and make it more resilient. In order to ensure better primary healthcare facilities, 1,50,000 Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres are in line to be set up, of which around 79,000 are already functioning. In addition, work has started on ensuring that every district has at least one medical college with the government already sanctioning 157 medical colleges, the Minister added.
“The Mission aims to produce robust outcomes in public health, leapfrogging India to one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of management of public health outbreaks,” said the Minister, adding that the components, such as setting up of the National Platform for One Health, setting up a Division for Research on Disease Elimination Sciences and Health as a satellite centre of National Aids Research Institute, setting up of the Regional National Institutes of Virology, strengthening of existing national research institutions, the NCDC and existing laboratory infrastructure, upgradation of labs and creation of additional BSL-3 facilities under the ICMR and the NCDC, will further strengthen the country’s capacity to detect and diagnose new infections.
He highlighted that the planned interventions will also lead to availability of adequately trained manpower to contribute to diagnosis and research on novel pathogens and biological threats, reducing dependence on foreign partners and laboratories. The Hindu