India's stature grew globally as it helped other countries during Covid: Mandaviya

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 04-04-2024 19:26 IST | Created: 04-04-2024 19:26 IST
India's stature grew globally as it helped other countries during Covid: Mandaviya
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India showcased its ancient ethos of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (the world is one family) during the Covid crisis which increased the country's stature globally and gave confidence to other nations that it would stand with them during crises, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Thursday.

While some developed nations manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines were stockpiling them, India was helping others. As a result of this, the world now wants good relations with India, said Mandaviya, who also holds the chemicals and fertilizers portfolio, in an exclusive interview with PTI.

The Covid pandemic has taught many lessons to India and the world. The first was that the subject of health cannot be restricted to a single country and requires global cooperation and coordination, he said.

''Keeping this in mind, India had prioritised collective international cooperation on research and innovation in its agenda for the G20 summit. As we had seen during the Covid crisis, India helped more than 150 countries, including developed nations, with medicines.

''While some developed countries manufacturing vaccines were stockpiling doses, India was helping others and as a result, the world now wants good relations with India.

''India demonstrated its ethos of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' during the Covid crisis under PM Modi's leadership. Now countries know that India will stand with them in adverse situations. Under PM Modi's leadership, India is progressing on the right path,'' Mandaviya said.

Elaborating on the achievements of the health ministry, Mandaviya said the health sector has witnessed fundamental changes in the last 10 years.

When the Modi government came to power, there were only 387 medical colleges in the country. ''Today, there are 706 medical colleges. The number has doubled in 10 years,'' he said.

There were around 52,000 MBBS seats in the country after 65 years of independence. Today, the number has increased to 1,08,940, he said.

''Earlier, students were compelled to go abroad for medical education but we ensured that they get quality medical education in the country,'' he added.

Referring to the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), Mandaviya said providing health insurance coverage at such a large scale is a major achievement.

''The Obama administration in the US had covered 10 crore people under Obamacare but PM Modi came out with a scheme which aims to provide a health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to 12 crore families,'' the minister said.

''Several poor families have benefitted from the scheme. Every year, 5 crore people used to slip below the poverty line due to expenses on (treatment of) major diseases such as cardiovascular ailments and cancer.

''You must have seen the recent NITI Aayog report which said that 25 crore people came out of poverty. This shows the effect of the government's welfare schemes aimed at eliminating poverty,'' he said.

Mandaviya further said that to ensure access to digital health services for the poor, the government has set up more than 1,50,000 Ayushman Arogya Mandirs in which teleconsultations take place in conjunction with identified medical college hospitals in a hub-and-spoke model to ensure effective healthcare delivery.

''I was once going to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at AIIMS, Jhajjar. On the way, I saw an Ayushman Arogya Mandir and went inside. The doctor there was checking a woman patient and didn't know that a minister had come and was standing behind him.

''He connected with a specialist doctor at PGI Chandigarh through teleconsultation who also spoke to the patient and prescribed some medicines afterwards. This is a big thing for poor patients as they can get the advice of a specialist sitting in their villages. Every day, 3 to 4 lakh teleconsultations are done,'' Mandaviya said.

The government has also tried to expand and strengthen the healthcare infrastructure in the country.

According to the minister, the outlay for the PM-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PMABHIM) is Rs 64,000 crore, which translates to around Rs 70-80 crore per district on average.

Through the universal immunisation programme Mission Indradhanush, efforts have been made to ensure that not a single child misses out on life-saving vaccines, Mandaviya said.

He also highlighted the expansion of Jan Aushadhi Kendras across the country to improve access to quality and affordable medicines for all and not just the poor.

''PM Modi has connected health with development through a holistic approach. If a nation has to become developed, its first requirement is to provide citizens with quality healthcare. Healthy citizens can build a healthy society which in turn can build a developed nation,'' Mandaviya said.

He also explained how district hospitals are being converted into medical colleges and critical care units have been set up in district hospitals under the National Health Infrastructure Mission.

The government has set up 22 AIIMS, he underlined.

''Modi ji has taken forward the healthcare sector with a comprehensive and holistic approach and the results are evident in society,'' he added.

On Modi recently underlining the need to invest in cervical cancer research, Mandaviya said the prime minister has said that the government will focus on spreading awareness about the disease and its vaccination for women. ''His words serve as a benchmark and the health ministry will surely work on this matter,'' the minister said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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