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Preparing today for the healthcare of tomorrow

In the last few years, the Covid-19 pandemic had challenged the world, and has had its reign making people walk through different stages of ambiguity and grief. Be it family, business, or governments, everyone had their uncertainties. The world has witnessed many pandemics before this, and scientists have struggled to find their way around. With the current advances in technology and advanced medical equipment, we were able to bring stability by reducing this uncertainty and unpredictability. Now that the Covid fog seems to have cleared, we are now able to look at all the things, which this pandemic has blinded or pushed behind.

There is a plethora of ailments both physical and mental in this post-Covid era, which now needs our immediate attention. Yes, though we cannot say post-Covid-19 era for sure, as we do have a chance for its resurgence due to the emergence of various new strains, we do can hope positively about it with the availability of vaccines, the herd immunity, and our knowledge about the virus, all attributed to our advanced medical knowledge in comparison to our past.

The world, particularly the developing countries, has taken a toll and has seen to grapple with achieving the SDGs as all the manpower and resources were focused on thwarting this pandemic. There is an urgent need to reequip the system to start focusing on all the other national programs, which were pushed behind. To cite a few examples, we have a huge backlog of cataract cases in our country, which we need to address along with restarting the population-based surveys of non-communicable diseases, which will help identify the people at risk of NCDs, and improve the quality of life of the survivors.

The administrators and businesses should start focusing on the needs of the people, which will help them to stay healthy both physically and mentally. The lessons learnt from Covid should be put to use to stay prepared for any disaster of this magnitude in the future. The focus areas should be to equip and train our primary healthcare system to face these adversities. They are our first line of defense and constant trainings, capacity buildings, and equipping our health systems with recent advances will be a game changer. The economic burden this pandemic has left is one of the major challenges to conquer. But strategic planning in terms of money, manpower, and materials will certainly go a long way. Hence, the government and businesses will have this dual challenge of addressing the needs of today and the preparedness for tomorrow.

Achievements of the health department for FY23:

  • MoU signed with Frontier Life Line Hospital for conducting heart surgeries; setting up of advanced cardiac care unit, in which advanced equipment like CT angiogram recently installed.
  • Best performer under UT cadre for Ayushman Bharath Health Insurance Scheme. Almost 95 percent of families are covered, i.e., one person of the BPL families is registered under ABPMJAY.
  • Signed MoU with Cankids, an NGO for the benefit of pediatric cancer cases.
  • About to Sign MoU with Erode Cancer Center for Puducherry patients for getting radiotherapy treatment for cancer.
  • Administrative approval received for the construction of a dedicated full-fledged cancer care unit at IGMC.
  • Request sent to MHA for opening of Puducherry Medical Council, University, and a Pharma park.
  • Setting up of a dedicated de-addiction center is at the planning level. Constituted committee is in progress.
  • Financial approval for the purchase of equipment and construction to all the hospitals from sub-centers up to medical colleges for an amount of Rs 75 crore was expected. However, for 22 crore, it is sanctioned. First phase of purchase is under process.
  • Revamped the entire purchase procedure, all purchases will be made only through the GeM portal.
  • Standard of central purchase committee norms were streamlined, thereby ensuring the quality of drugs.
  • Installed next-generation genome sequencing lab for identification of any new strains caused by any virus. Currently, any kind of strains through Covid-19 can be detected. This lab will support neighboring districts too.

This article is co-authored by Dr G. Sriramulu, Director (DHFWS), Puducherry.

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