Covid strengthened public-private partnership model in India's healthcare system: Jitendra Singh

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New Delhi, Jun 28 (PTI) Union minister Jitendra Singh on Monday said that Covid has strengthened the public-private partnership model in India's healthcare system with a win-win situation for both.

Speaking at the 2nd Public Health Summit 2021 organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, he said that this partnership between industry and public health experts can work on different models such as healthcare and diagnostics delivery, vaccine development, research and development, telemedicine facilities for rural areas and digital delivery of medicines.

Singh, the minister of State for Personnel, said that this partnership could be a game-changer and will truly transform the health sector in India.

Referring to the world's largest free vaccination drive initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said with the delivery of over 32 crore doses, India is the fastest country in the world to administer vaccines, according to a Personnel Ministry statement.

This, the minister said, not only makes it the world's fastest vaccination drive but also makes it distinct because of the smooth manner in which it has proceeded despite the heterogeneous character of the country and a huge population of 135 crore.

Dwelling on the need for telemedicine facility, Singh lamented that this aspect was not given desired attention in the country and said that now the time has come to revive it in a big way for free consultation from home, particularly in rural areas.

He said guidelines already exist for empanelment of recognised doctors across India for teleconsultation of patients on a shift-wise basis, the statement said.

Singh said that in his Lok Sabha constituency of Udhampur-Kathua-Doda in Jammu and Kashmir, teleconsultation facility has been established in the district hospital at Kathua with all the panchayats connected with it and it is being monitored on a regular basis, it said.

Hailing the Ayushman Bharat Yojana as a unique and successful health insurance scheme launched by Prime Minister Modi in 2018, he said it has come at a critical juncture, and Covid treatment was also included under the Yojana.

Singh said with affordable and accessible quality healthcare, the Ayushman Yojana is the 'world's largest government-funded healthcare program' targeting over 50 crore beneficiaries, the statement said.

Referring to the prime minister's announcement of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) from the Red Fort last year, he said it would revolutionise the health sector in the country.

Singh said the NDHM will be a completely technology-based initiative and every Indian would get a health ID card that would contain all relevant information about an individual's medical conditions.

He said that public health should be driven by technology and data for effective surveillance and monitoring of diseases and for its successful management.

In his concluding remarks, Singh asked the industry bodies to work with healthcare professionals to shun panic about the third wave of the pandemic and rather all should focus on defeating the Covid second wave in an effective manner.

He reiterated that 'precaution, not panic' is the main mantra to fight this pandemic.

In his address, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi called for a robust healthcare system in India with about 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) as health budget.

He also underlined the need for close collaboration between the Centre and the states on health issues despite health being a state subject, the statement said.

Dr Guleria said for equitable access to healthcare in rural and remote areas, there is a need for augmentation of specialised manpower and upgradation of health infra in the country.

Dr R S Sharma, CEO of National Health Authority said in his address, that CoWIN portal for vaccination is unique in the world in terms of portability, scalability and inclusivity and it is a citizen-centric platform.

He said 300 million-plus registrations and vaccinations with granular details of each individual are available on the portal with a very simple process of registration.

Sharma informed that more than 50 countries from Latin America, Africa and Asia have shown interest in our vaccination system and we will share the technology with them free of cost, the statement said. PTI AKV KJ

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