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“India Is Leading The Way In Digital Health Sector,” Says Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya

Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya said that at the time, when other countries were registering for and providing coronavirus vaccination certificates in writing, the Co-WIN app served the function of registration, appointment scheduling, identity verification for Indians

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"Indian Is Leading The Way In Digital Health Sector," Says Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya
Dr Mandaviya also highlighted the significance of e-Sanjeevani platform, the national telemedicine service.

New Delhi: “Health is a service for India, not commerce,” said Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya while discussing various healthcare initiatives taken by the central government, exclusively with NDTV on September 14. Dr Mandaviya said that the health sector has gained prominence ever since the world was hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The recent G20 summit also prioritised strengthening health emergency preparedness and response, he added. Talking about India’s top health priorities during the summit, the Union Health Minister said,

We had discussed three priorities during the G20 Summit. The first was about medical countermeasures, i.e., making medicines and vaccines to related diseases accessible and affordable for all. The second priority was Digital Health Mission, i.e., utilising digital technology is enhancing the healthcare system of the country. The third focused on strengthening the health emergency preparedness and response for pandemics such as coronavirus. All the three focus areas were taken into consideration by all the G20 nations.

Also Read: G20 Health Ministers Call For Building Resilient, Equitable Access To Affordable Medicines In Developing World

India’s Progress In Digitalising Health Sector

Talking about India’s progress in merging digital technology and healthcare, Dr Mandaviya said,

Today, we are leading the way in digital health technology, and the coronavirus pandemic is a prime example of that. At the time, when other countries were registering for and providing vaccination certificates in writing, the Co-WIN app served the function of registration, appointment scheduling, identity verification, vaccination and certification of each vaccinated member of India. The person travelling has to just open the app and show their vaccination status.

Dr Mandaviya also highlighted the significance of e-Sanjeevani platform, the national telemedicine service, as a step towards digital health equity to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The e-Sanjeevani platform is ensuring healthcare to the last mile, by facilitating virtual access of patients to doctors and medical specialists.

Also Read: This Is What ‘Health For All’ Looks Like: WHO Chief On India’s Commitment Towards Healthcare And Traditional Medical Practices

India’s Preparation For Containing Nipah Virus Outbreak

Dr Mandaviya also spoke about the recent Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala. On India’s preparedness of tackling any upcoming outbreak, he said,

We learnt a lot from the coronavirus crisis, from our weaknesses to our strengths. We made the surveillance system vigorous at the time to detect the COVID-infected person from the remotest of the areas. Our surveillance system is robust enough to detect any kind of disease outbreak in any part of India. The data collected comes directly to our command and control centre, following which we take action, and the same happened in the case of the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala recently. Soon after two unnatural deaths were reported earlier this week in the Kozhikode district, we sent a central team of experts to identify the cause. Immediately after the disease identification, the Kerala Health Department, with the centre’s guidance, sounded an alert in Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad, and Malappuram districts and issued guidelines.

Dr Mandaviya said that the Nipah virus infection does not spread rapidly like the coronavirus, and the symptoms of the infection include high fever, muscular pain, headache, fever, dizziness, and nausea.

The government has prepared to curb the spread of the infection in the coming days, the Union Health Minister confirmed. He added,

I would like to assure our citizens that just like we managed the coronavirus pandemic, we are equipped to manage any future outbreaks.

Also Read: Nipah Virus: Kerala Strengthens Measures After The State Records Three Fatalities

Initiatives Taken To Bridge Health Infrastructure Gap

Dr Mandaviya said that India has worked on bridging the healthcare infrastructure gap between urban and rural areas through the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM), a pan-India scheme for public health infrastructure.

Enhancing Health Accessibility With ‘Ayushman Bhav’ Initiative

Talking about the new health campaign, Ayushman Bhav, Dr Mandaviya said,

Ayushman Bhav initiative will be rolled out as ‘Seva Pakhwada’ starting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 73rd birthday on September 17 till October 2. Several health activities will take place that will help enhance healthcare accessibility and awareness across India.

With this initiative, the government will reach out to seven crore families through various health melas and Ayushman Sabhas that will be conducted at community health centres (CHCs), villages, and panchayats. Detailing the activities involved, the Union Health Minister said,

Jan Arogya Mela will be conducted across 1,70,000 health and wellness centres (HWCs) of the country, with the help of government, non-government organisations and individual partnerships, wherein medical attention will be provided to the patients from all the villages and towns, along with the referral of critical patients to specialised hospitals.

Besides, for tertiary healthcare services, medical melas will be organised in multiple medical colleges.

Top specialists will attend these melas and examine, diagnose, and treat patients free of charge under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

Under the Ayushman Bhav initiative, the government also aims to provide Ayushman cards to the remaining eligible beneficiaries enrolled under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PMJAY) scheme, ensuring that more individuals have access to essential health services, the Union Health Minister informed.

Also Read: New Health Campaign, ‘Ayushman Bhava’ To Reach Out 7 Crore Families: All You Need To Know About The Initiative

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 – theLGBTQ 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 currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) 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, fightmalnutrition, 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 likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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