Making healthcare affordable has been the topmost priority of the Union Government: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi

The post-Union Budget webinar on “Health Education and Medical Research” sponsored by the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare and Pharmaceuticals (M/o Chemicals and Fertilizers) was addressed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi yesterday. It is the ninth of 12 post-Budget webinars the Union Government has scheduled. In addition to Dr. V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, and Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, attended the livestream of the webinar.

The goal of the webinar was to include the participants in moving forward the various government projects in the fields of health and medical research.

The Prime Minister said that it is important to consider healthcare from both the pre- and post-COVID era perspectives. “The pandemic has taught us that when medical tragedy befalls, the entire healthcare apparatus of the country can come apart,” he said. He noted that “India went further and focused on wellness at the same time the pandemic focused worldwide attention on healthcare. Because of this, our mission statement, “One Earth, One Health,” emphasises the significance of providing holistic treatment to all species existing on the planet.

The Prime Minister voiced worry that during the height of the epidemic, life-saving drugs and equipment like vaccines, masks, etc., had been used as weapons by some countries, bringing attention to the crucial problem of supply chain management. He underlined the responsibility of all stakeholders in this to progress towards making Atmanirbhar Bharat and reiterated that the government has been working to ensure that our import dependence on such key products is reduced over the last several years.

The Prime Minister noted that since India’s independence, a long-term integrated approach to healthcare was a missing necessity. He said, “We have not limited healthcare only to the agenda of the Union Health Ministry. It has become part of a whole of the government approach today”.

The Prime Minister stated that making healthcare affordable has been the topmost priority of the Union Government. “The rationale behind providing free treatment up to Rs. 5 lakhs through the Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY initiative was to save around Rs 80,000 crore of hard-earned money that would have otherwise been spent on medical expenditure”, he stated. “Tomorrow, as India celebrates Jan Aushadhi Diwas, it is pertinent to note that there are approximately 9,000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras across the country supplying medicines at highly affordable rates. These Jan Aushadhi Kendras have saved an additional Rs. 20,000 crores of poor and middle-class families in India”, he further stated.

The Prime Minister elaborated on the increasing use of technology in healthcare, saying, “We want to provide timely treatment to the public through the facility of Digital Health ID. Teleconsultation has already benefited 10 crore individuals because to programmes like eSanjeevani. For startups, 5G is opening up new possibilities in this industry. According to him, drones are bringing about significant improvements in the testing and distribution of medications. He went on to say, “This is a tremendous chance for the entrepreneurs and will drive our efforts for universal healthcare,” asking them to develop to lessen the import of any technology.

The market for medical gadgets, which is expanding by 12–14% annually, will reach Rs 4 lakh crore in the upcoming years, according to the prime minister. He claimed that India had begun to develop trained labour for advanced manufacturing, research, and medical technologies. He claimed that programmes like biological engineering would begin at colleges like IIT. He also urged the attendees to think of ways that business, academia, and the government could work together.

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