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COVID-19 Pandemic Helped India To Scale Up Its Healthcare Infrastructure: ICMR Director General

The Indian Council of Medical Research’s Director General Balram Bhargava said a ‘jan-andolan’ for masking, a ‘jan-andolan’ for ‘do gaj ki duri’ and a ‘jan-andolan’ for hand hygiene helped India in fighting COVID-19

COVID-19 Pandemic Helped India To Scale Up Its Healthcare Infrastructure: ICMR Director General
  • India scaled up from single testing lab to 2,500 labs: Mr Bhargava, ICMR
  • ICMR Chief said India has rapidly developed two very safe COVID-19 vaccines
  • India has vaccinated nearly 50% of its healthcare workers: ICMR

New Delhi: While India has been successful in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, it also turned out to be a huge opportunity for the country to scale up its healthcare infrastructure, said Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Balram Bhargava on Wednesday (January 3). Speaking to ANI, Mr Bhargava said that the pandemic is under control in the country as the government adopted a science-driven approach. “We innovated from using molecular tests very early. The pandemic turned out to be a huge opportunity for India to scale up its healthcare infrastructure,” he said.

Also Read: We Have To Create Anytime, Anywhere Vaccination Process, Says Dr RS Sharma, Chairman Of The Empowered Group On Vaccinations

A ‘jan-andolan’ for masking, a ‘jan-andolan’ for ‘do gaj ki duri’ and a ‘jan-andolan’ for hand hygiene was the top-down government approach that has helped the country and now we are seeing such low numbers of cases, he said.

Mr Bhargava said that the ICMR worked on testing and vaccine and also scaled up from a single lab to 2,500 labs.

We innovated from using molecular tests very early, he added. As compared to Western and other countries’ approach, we took the pandemic seriously from the beginning. We adopted the 5Ts strategy of testing, tracking, tracing, technology, treating very early, the DG said.

Mr Bhargava also advised people to continue the COVID-appropriate behaviours of wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and following health hygiene as the herd immunity is still far. Regarding the vaccine hesitancy among the people, he said that the machinery is robust in terms of vaccine manufacture, delivery, and safety.

Also Read: High-Level Committee Set Up For Distribution, Administration Of COVID-19 Vaccines: Union Minister Ashwini Choubey

In terms of COVID-19 vaccines, we have rapidly developed these two vaccines, which are very safe. They have been tested on large populations in India and some other parts of the world, informed Mr Bhargava.

Two COVID-19 vaccines- Covishield of AstraZeneca and Oxford University and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin have been granted emergency use authorisation in the country. The vaccination drive in the country began on January 16.

Also Read: India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Gains Momentum, 4 Million Beneficiaries Vaccinated

We have nearly vaccinated 50 percent of our healthcare workers, he added.

As on February 3, 2021, till 8 am, more than 41 lakh (41,38,918) beneficiaries have received the vaccination under the countrywide COVID19 vaccination exercise. Commenting on the recent union budget, the ICMR DG said that the budget was great from the point of view of the healthcare infrastructure.

This has been hugely demonstrated in the budget that healthcare is the top priority. We also have to think of the unfinished agenda for the country’s health and eliminate certain alienable diseases, he said.

Mr Bhargava further said that the next focus of the country would be on malaria, tuberculosis and leprosy.

Many of them have to be eliminated in the next decade or so. The non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension, etc can be tackled by lifestyle modification, he said.

Also Read: Vaccine Explainer: How Does Immunisation Protect Against A Disease?

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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.

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