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“Government Working On Increasing Healthcare Infrastructure And Accessibility,” Says Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya

Union Health Minister Dr. Mandaviya listed down various measures by the government to make healthcare accessible and affordable and eradicate diseases like Tuberculosis and sickle cell anaemia

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New Delhi: On the occasion of Independence Day on August 15, NDTV – Dettol celebrated the completion of Season 9 of one of the longest and largest running public health campaigns ‘Banega Swasth India’. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya joined the panel discussion with the eminent doctors and Padma awardees to talk about the successes and various prevalent challenges of India’s healthcare system that the government is addressing.

Increasing Healthcare Infrastructure And Accessibility

Dr Mandaviya said that the government is working on increasing healthcare infrastructure and accessibility of the healthcare services to the last mile.

Watch: Our Aim Is To Create A Health Sector Model Tailored To India’s Needs: Health Minister

To ensure healthcare services to the remotest parts of the country, the government has decided to provide for one health and wellness centre for a population of 6000-7000. In the last nine years, the centre has established 1,60,000 primary health and wellness centres, for the people to provide primary treatment to the last mile.

These wellness centres are equipped with all the healthcare needs of the patient. If the patient needs secondary or tertiary treatment, they will be guided by these centres for the same. This will also reduce a lot of the burden that falls on tertiary hospitals which are otherwise meant for complex medical conditions such as cancers, pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

Additionally, the centre has decided to establish 22 All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in various states, out of which 16 are already functional, the health minister said.

Making Healthcare Affordable With Ayushman Bharat Yojana

Talking about the government policies to make healthcare affordable for the economically weaker section of the society, Dr Mandaviya said that the government’s Ayushman Bharat Yojana is providing health cover to families living below the poverty line. Dr Mandaviya added,

So far, 5.5 crore people have benefited from the Yojana. Today, for health, the distinction between poor and rich has disappeared,

Also Read: Healthcare Should Be Accessible And Affordable: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya

Teleconsultation Services For Making Healthcare Accessible To The Last Mile

Some illnesses, like cancer or cardiovascular conditions, cannot be treated in a single day and necessitate repeated hospital stays. Patients have to visit the hospital several times. An individual from a low socioeconomic background suffers a loss of daily income, which further impacts the family. Despite having a choice, many people are unable to seek care.

Hence, there is a requirement of a healthcare service/model that would address the obstacles patients suffering from diseases like cancer that require prolonged treatment. For this, the government has ensured tele-consultation services at the primary health and wellness centres. Via Tele consultation, the patient can also avail guidance for secondary treatment, Dr Mandaviya informed.

Also Read: Health For All: Building A Swasth India With Technological Innovations In Healthcare

India’s Fight Against Tuberculosis

Dr. Mandaviya also gave an insight on the centre’s efforts in eradicating Tuberculosis from the country. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) started an initiative, ‘Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan’ in September 2022, to accelerate the country’s progress towards Tuberculosis elimination by 2025, five years before the global target of eradicating TB by 2030.

Dr Mandaviya listed down the assistance provided to the TB patients:

  • Free diagnostics to TB patients
  • A monthly food basket nutritional food for the TB patients
  • Intensified IEC (Information, Education & Communication) campaigns to reduce stigma, raise community awareness and improve health-seeking behaviour
  • Accelerating TB preventive therapy by healthcare officials
  • Tracking of notified TB cases through a case-based web-based portal Ni-kshay Mitra’

Watch: The Modi Government Has Launched National Health Infrastructure Mission: Dr Mansukh Mandaviya

The ‘Ni-kshay Mitra’ portal has been created for individuals to register themselves and adopt TB patients to take care of them. Dr. Mandaviya informed that within 30 days, approximately 90,000 people, including NGOs, business associations, individuals, and political parties had sponsored about 10,000 TB patients. Dr. Mandaviya said,

This shows how collective efforts work in mitigating Tuberculosis. I am sure that our country will be free of TB by 2025.

Asked about if India needs to bring about a change in its healthcare model, Dr Mandaviya said,

We need to see health and healthcare services with a different lens. It’s not important to adhere to a global health model. Every country has a different population, climate, prevalence of diseases and economic conditions. The dynamics and reality of our nation should be the foundation of the health model we adopt and the government is continuously working to develop this model and is seeing success.

Elimination Of Sickle Cell Anaemia From India

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder marked by defective haemoglobin. It inhibits the ability of haemoglobin in red blood cells to carry oxygen. In India, sickle cell anaemia has been prevalent among the tribal community

Talking about India’s status on eradicating the disease, Dr. Mandaviya informed that the health ministry recently launched the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination, with the aim of eliminating the disease by 2047.

The union health minister said that combating such a disease requires timely, systematic and a focused effort, which India is making.

Italy is free of Sickle Cell disease. Japan is free of Sickle Cell disease. Why can’t India do it? India has 278 districts, 12 states, 7 crore tribal population, if we start screening all of our population, we will be able to make India free from the disease by 2047, he added.

Also Read: Good Health Is Dependent On Access To Good Sanitation Facilities: Union Minister Smriti Irani

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. 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 will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that 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 the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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