New Delhi July 3 (IANS) Health is the key to success and prosperity for any individual of the society. In fact, the quality of life in any country can be gauged best by two indicators: health and education. Though the nation has made rapid strides in the latter, it could have done better in the former.
Despite many successes on the health front, the nation still faces innumerable challenges in the forms of diseases that are communicable and non-communicable in nature and/or sanitation facilities as well.
These monumental challenges are being tackled on both the private as well as public sector fronts - with affordable healthcare, malnutrition as well as other range of issues in special focus over the last half a decade.
Vastly neglected for a number of years, a large number of schemes have been launched in the health sector in the recent past.
The last eight years have been about augmenting health infrastructure, ensuring affordable and quality healthcare access to every Indian, and integrating technology with this sector.
A major development has been the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana under the umbrella Ayushman Bharat scheme that was launched in the year 2018. The scheme intends to provide health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year to more than 100 million vulnerable individuals in need of the same.
Towards the same, Ayushman cards have already been provided to about 180 million beneficiaries. Additionally, 141 medical procedures earmarked specifically for women have been included under the scheme as well.
In toto, around 46.7 per cent of beneficiaries who have availed of the free treatment are women. As part of the same, the other aspect of the scheme has been the establishment of the Health & Wellness Centres that number over 1.18 lakh now.
In a short span of time, these wellness centres have organised about 1.08 crore sessions with more than 85.63 crore patients having visited there. With the rapid pace at which these are growing, it is estimated that the number of such centres shall increase to 1.58 lakh within the next six months.
To weigh down the healthcare budget of every family through providing quality generic medicines at affordable prices, Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Bureau of India (PMBI) has set up around 8,750 Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra(PMJAK) that help to save 50-90 per cent costs on medicines.
Coupled with that, these wellness centres have been connected to a novel telemedicine service called e-Sanjeevani that has been providing treatment to over 90,000 patients across the country on a regular basis. This humongous endeavour has been made possible only after the renewed vigour with which the Union Government has begun focusing on the health sector.
A significant testament of the same was witnessed from the way the world's largest free vaccination campaign against COVID-19 took shape with the Government of India at helm.
Along with ramping up the health infrastructure during the time period between the first and the second wave, India continued with its strict imposition of the lockdown along with vaccine development and implementation.
More than Rs 35,000 crore were earmarked for the research & development of the vaccine in the union budget 2021. The large vaccination campaign officially began on January 16, 2021 with the protocol status with regards to the storage, transportation, procurement and cold chain facilities having been decided.
After the implementation of the same, the Har Ghar Dastak (Door-to-Door) campaigns along with the use of CoWIN (the digital platform put in place to ascertain that accessible registration was done) ensured that the maximum number of people were vaccinated in a record time period.
India made a world record of administering the highest 25 million doses in a single day on September 17, 2021. As of May 15, 2022, more than 87 per cent of the adult population has received both doses of the vaccine.
The two-month 'Har Ghar Dastak 2.0' campaign commenced on June 1, 2022 to expedite COVID-19 vaccination coverage to include all eligible beneficiaries through door-to-door campaigns with special focus on people in old age homes, schools/colleges, prisons and brick kilns.
Being implemented in a 'Mission Mode', States and Union Territories (UTs) have been advised to give an effective thrust towards full vaccination coverage for all eligible beneficiaries.
After the dangerous second wave of infections in the country, more than 3,000 laboratories came up to test patients' samples of COVID-19 virus in almost no time where at the beginning of such testing, there used to be only one such laboratory.
Pediatric care units in 631 districts of the country have come up through the Emergency Response Package of the Government of India.
At the same time, the government has been able to ramp up the manufacturing of essential equipment like N95 masks and PPE kits. India has now become the second-largest producer of these kits with regular supply to over 50 countries of the world.
In the face of adverse circumstances, innovation has taken the front seat for the Indian government with rapid advancements on all fronts: nutrition, medicine, vaccination, education, technology, among others.
With over Rs 3.4 lakh crore spent so as to ensure that a large chunk of Indian population did not collapse into the vulnerable section of those that are extremely poor, the government was able to distribute over 760 lakh metric tonnes of food grain so far.
With the constant shift towards ensuring that the government is health-centric and prioritises the needs of the society, India has been able to make the necessary changes at ensuring that the condition of vulnerable and disease-prone people isameliorated through its targeted intervention schemes for the poor.
A healthier society has seen vastly significant outcomes to point out that such a society is happier in general.
India is putting sincere efforts to strengthen the healthcare sector.
During the pandemic, the need of enough number of doctors was realised. Now, setting up of at least one medical college in each district of India is in pipeline to produce a record number of doctors in upcoming decade. The coming years will belong to those who have invested in healthcare. Health for everyone is pledge of new India.
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