New Delhi: Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday (February 24), hailed India’s response to the COVID pandemic and said that the country was able to save over 3.4 million lives by undertaking the nationwide vaccination campaign at an unprecedented scale.The Health Minister lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership during the pandemic and said that he initiated a “preemptive response” much before COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020, by the WHO. The remarks of the Minister came while delivering a keynote address virtually at Stanford ‘The India Dialog’ session on the Economic Impact of Vaccination & Related Matters on Friday.
India was able to save more than 3.4 million lives by undertaking the nationwide vaccination campaign at an unprecedented scale. Under the PMGKAY, the government focused on ensuring that no one slept hungry and free food grains were distributed to 800 million people, he said. The report “Healing the economy: Estimating the Economic Impact of India’s Vaccination and related measure” is Pertinent in culminating the massive efforts taken by India during Covid and how those efforts have led to an economic impact across the domains, Minister Mandaviya added.
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He said that during the pandemic, India adopted a “Whole of Government” and “Whole of Society” approach, in a proactive, preemptive and graded manner thus adopting a holistic response strategy, for effective management of Covid-19. The Minister noted that the government created an administrative structure by setting up 11 Empowered Groups to focus dedicatedly on various aspects of pandemic management like Drugs, Vaccination, Logistics, etc. as early as 29 March 2020.
PM Modi with his early call for Voluntary Lockdown paved the way to include the community in this response which is our mainstay in fighting this invisible virus, he said.
Talking about the rapid development of COVID infrastructure in the country, he said that the government ramped up testing infrastructure at an unprecedented scale for early detection of the virus with more than 917.8 million total tests conducted so far.
We also set up a network of 52 labs for Genomic surveillance which has helped us to monitor the emerging variants of the virus. We prioritized scientific evidence-based vaccine development, vaccine production, just-in-time logistics including ensuring vaccine availability across the country, he said.
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The Minister also lauded the country’s vaccination drive calling it the world’s biggest and said that over 2.2 billion doses have been administered so far.
With a mission mode approach for vaccination, India launched the world’s biggest vaccination drive on 16th January 2021, and till now we have administered more than 2.2 billion doses with 97 per cent 1st dose coverage and 90 per cent 2nd dose coverage of eligible beneficiaries, he said. The vaccination drive was supported by the relentless efforts of our vaccinators who traversed mountains, deserts, & difficult geographical terrain to reach individuals in far-flung areas, Minister Mandaviya added.
He also mentioned the indigenously developed CoWIN platform which is used to book the slot for the COVID vaccination and draw certificates after the administration of the vaccine jab.
We also utilized the CoWIN vaccine management platform as its backbone which monitored the doses administered across the country & provided QR-code-based” vaccination certificates, he said. Adopting a 360-degree response, numerous & timely financial packages were introduced which were crucial in mitigating the economic fallout, the Minister added further detailing the government’s efforts.
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He said that the government utilized multiple schemes with a collective outlay of USD 42.3 billion for the agriculture sector with an aim of minimizing the impact on the social sector.
We also introduced relief packages worth USD 4.6 billion to enable healthcare infrastructure augmentation & states were financially empowered through allowing utilization of more than 50 per cent of funds from the State Disaster Relief Fund, he said. While the prime focus of the campaign was always on saving lives, it also yielded a positive economic impact by preventing the loss of USD 18.3 billion. This resulted in a net benefit of USD 15.42 billion for the nation after taking into consideration the cost of the vaccination campaign, the Minister added.
(Except for the headline this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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.