UPSC Exam   »   Boosting Health Infrastructure

Boosting Health Infrastructure

GS Paper – 2: Government Policies & Interventions, Welfare Schemes

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on October 25. This will be one of the largest pan-India schemes for strengthening healthcare infrastructure across the country.

Background:

It has been a Long-awaited Mission(announced in the Budget 2021-22).  Ever since the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic, there has been thinking within the government that the Health infrastructure needs to be exponentially enhanced because we saw the pace with which the pandemic hit us and did not give time to respond. In fact, In the backdrop of the Covid 19 Pandemic in the last two years, we have seen great work in building health infrastructure.

Aim of PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission:

  • It is the largest pan-India scheme since 2005 for the creation and improvement of long-term public healthcare infrastructure. It is meant to be implemented in each district of the country. The government will spend Rs 64,180 crore on the scheme from the financial year 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • This mission will have three major aspects with an aim to strengthen the critical healthcare network from village to block to the district to the regional and national level in the next 4-5 years.
  • It will provide support for more than 17000 rural Health and Wellness Centres in 10 High Focus States and establish 11,024 urban Health and Wellness Centres in all the States. Critical care services will be made available in all the districts of the country with more than 5 lakh population, through Exclusive Critical Care Hospital Blocks, while the remaining districts will be covered through referral services.
  • People will also have access to a full range of diagnostic services in the Public Healthcare system through a network of laboratories across the country.
  • It will also work towards building up a trained frontline health workforce to respond to any public health emergency.

 Three Components of PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission:

  • The first component is to establish comprehensive surveillance of infectious diseases.
  • The second component is the creation of comprehensive diagnostics and treatment facilities. 
  • The third component of the mission will be comprehensive pandemic research.

‘From Token to Total’ approach

  • This is a ‘Saturation Approach of comprehensive healthcare with the Block, District, State and National levels seamlessly connected for affordable and quality healthcare.

Development and health are Interlinked:

  • For any country to achieve prosperity, it has to first become healthy.
  • Health is asset individuals possess, which has intrinsic value (being healthy is a very important source of well-being) as well as instrumental value.
  • In instrumental terms, health impacts economic growth in a number of ways. For example, it reduces production losses due to worker illness, it increases the productivity of adults as a result of better nutrition, and it lowers absenteeism rates and improves learning among school children.

We Have To Be Prepared For Future Pandemics:

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  • The COVID-19pandemic has revealed holes in the public health infrastructure, particularly the lack of mechanisms to generate, collect, analyze, and compare data.
  • Improvements in health infrastructure would aid in fighting the current pandemic, and it will be an essential weapon against future pandemics and other major health threats.

Top Health-related Initiatives with the name ‘’Ayushman”:

  • The Ayushman Bharat- Health & Wellness Centres was launched in April 2018
  • Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY was launched in September 2018.
  • The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission was launched this year in September.
  • PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission– was launched on October 25.

Turning the crisis into opportunity with the new Mission:

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  • COVID-19 has provided us with an opportunity to boost healthcare facilities including laboratories, hospitals and diagnostic facilities at all levels of healthcare.
  • The new Mission aims to produce robust outcomes in Public Health leapfrogging India to one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of management of Public Health outbreaks.
  • The components, such as setting up of the National Platform for One Health, setting up a Division for Research on Disease Elimination Sciences & Health as a Satellite Centre of National Aids Research Institute, setting up of the Regional NIVs, strengthening of existing National Research Institutions, the NCDC and existing laboratory infrastructure, up-gradation of labs and creation of additional BSL-3 facilities under the ICMR and the NCDC, will further strengthen the country capacity to detect & diagnose new infections.
  • The planned interventions will also lead to the availability of adequately trained manpower who can contribute to diagnosis and research on novel pathogens and biological threats, reducing dependence on foreign partners and laboratories.
  • Development of Critical Care Hospital Blocks in 602 districts as proposed under the scheme, shall make such districts self-sufficient, to a large extent, in providing comprehensive treatment for infectious diseases without disruption to the other essential health services and also augment the critical care capacities in the public health facilities.
  • Initiatives such as strengthening of Points of Entry will ring-fence our borders against the import of new infectious diseases and pathogens. Health Emergency Operation Centres and the container-based mobile hospitals shall further build capacities for effective emergency response during such times.
  • Setting up of the national, regional, state, district and block level laboratories integrated into a network for surveillance functions, backed by a robust I.T. based reporting mechanism through the Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP), shall lead to self-reliance for detection, prevention and containment of disease outbreaks

Conclusion:

It is a good sign that in between the Covid-19  pandemic we are not only quickly containing the pandemic but also looking forward to renovating health infrastructure in the country. This futuristic approach will definitely help our country deal with upcoming adversaries of climate change and resulting diseases, epidemics & pandemics.

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