Health will remain high on agenda

News: Both the first and second waves of COVID have shown that India needs to strengthen its inadequately resourced health system.  

The new year calls for a renewed resolve to build an efficient, equitable and empathetic health system.

What has been done since the onset of the pandemic to strengthen the health infrastructure in India?

Emergency steps by government during the first wave

Fifteenth Finance Commission’s special attention to health infra and workforce

2021 budget provisions

Growth in domestic capacity for development, testing and manufacturing of vaccines in 2021

Digital Health Mission and Health Infrastructure Mission under the umbrella of Ayushman Bharat have been initiated that aim to strengthen rural and urban primary healthcare. 

Read more about the mission here 

What is the significance of these initiatives?

These would advance tele-health in diagnostics and treatment.

Accurate data can be gathered which can then put to use in emergencies like COVID pandemic and for future evidence-based policymaking.  

Robust Infra and digitisation will make health system more efficient, with improved supply chain management of drugs, vaccines and equipment, while streamlining health insurance programmes. 

Good infrastructure and deployment of technology-enabled health workers will add strength to primary care in a relatively short time. 

How can India cope with the new variant Omicron?

India needs to protect people, especially the vulnerable groups, against severe disease by speedily completing the double vaccination schedule. 

Homecare will be the main support for the mostly mild cases, while oxygen equipped beds will be needed by a small fraction.

Read here

How India will assume a greater role wrt vaccine development in 2022?

India’s role as a global supplier of vaccines will be amplified in 2022, due to the following factors:

– need for boosters vaccines

development and manufacture of new vaccines, which can counter variants and provide mucosal immunity

– Approval of new antiviral pills will generate high demand for pre-hospital use, with Indian firms called upon to produce large quantities at low cost.

Source: This post is based on the article “Health will remain high on agenda” published in Livemint on 20th Dec 2021. 

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