New Delhi: Hailing the budget proposed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, concerning the healthcare sector, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said the allocated budget will be of immense help to the country at this critical juncture when it is dealing with the worse pandemic humans have seen in 100-years – COVID-19. In a media address, Dr Harsh Vardhan said,
The Finance Minister spoke of six prominent pillars, with the topmost pillar being health and wellbeing. The outlay for the health sector has been increased to Rs 2,23,846 crores for 2021-22, which marks a 137 per cent increase over this year’s budget estimates.
Terming this year’s budget that is focused on prevention, cure and wellbeing, Dr Harsh Vardhan lauded the launch of Pradhan Mantri Aatma Nirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana and said,
The experiences of the country’s yearlong fight with COVID-19 have shaped the Union Budget. A new centrally sponsored scheme PM Atmanirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana will be launched with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over six years. The scheme will develop capacities of primary, secondary and tertiary care, health care systems, develop institutions for detection and cure of new and emerging diseases and strengthen the existing National Health Mission independent of it. It will further strengthen 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres, set up integrated public health labs in all districts and 3,382 block public health units in 11 States, establish critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for “moving health and wellbeing to the centre stage of India’s governance.”
He also expressed happiness over the renewed focus on Jal Jeevan Mission, the second phase of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Urban) and the Clean Air Initiative which target the holistic health of India’s citizens. He said,
These schemes are designed to reduce the disease burden of communicable diseases by curbing the disease transmission and prevent diseases caused by pollution.
Talking about the COVID-19 vaccines, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the Finance Minister has provided Rs 35,000 crore and also has committed to provide more funds if required, which will be a huge boost to the morale of the country.
Expressing happiness over the roll out of the Pneumococcal vaccine, similarly, a Made in India product he said,
It was presently limited to five states, now it will be rolled out across the country. This will avert more than 50,000 child deaths annually.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.