In the light of entry of the Covid-19 in rural areas besides the ongoing measures to control the spread of infection, the union government has taken various steps, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in a statement.
“MoHFW on 16 April 2021 issued a detailed SOP on the Covid-19 Containment & Management in peri-urban, rural and tribal areas. The SOP provides for strengthening primary level healthcare infrastructure at all levels to intensify the Covid-19 response in peri-urban, rural and tribal areas, while continuing to provide other essential health services through inter-sectoral approach by involving community-based organisations, Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNCs), Panchayati Raj institutions, Urban Local bodies, etc,” it said.
Under ‘India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness package’, Rs 15,000 crore was approved in April 2020 wherein states/UTs were provided required technical and financial assistance for strengthening of their healthcare system for management of the Covid-19 public health challenge, MoHFW added.
This, the ministry said, was primarily to support the states for the critical activities for surveillance and containment, for ramping up of testing and treatment facilities, for procurement of essential supplies, for engagement of critical HR, among others. “Following receipt of requests from states/UTs, states/UTs are allowed to utilise the uncommitted unspent opening balance under NHM of FY 21-22 from the previous year releases for Covid -19 management.”
Additionally, ‘India Covid-19 Emergency Response & Health System Preparedness Package: Phase-II’ has also been approved by the Cabinet with Rs 23,123 crores (with Rs. 15,000 crores as Central Component and Rs 8,123 as State component) and is to be implemented from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022. It includes support to state/UT level for ramping up health infrastructure including those in rural, tribal and peri-urban areas, providing support for procurement of drugs and diagnostics to enhance service delivery at district and sub-district levels (including pediatric care) and for maintaining a buffer stock of drugs, support for IT Interventions such as the implementation of Hospital Management Information System, expanding access to teleconsultations in all districts, and support for capacity building and training for all aspects of management of the Covid-19.