The coronavirus crisis highlighted that the country was investing too little in the health sector, CEO of AB-PMJAY Indu Bhushan said on Thursday as he stressed on the need to invest more in primary, secondary and critical care.
Addressing a webinar titled Digital Revolution Going Viral' during FICCI HEAL 2020 event, he said the crisis has spurred some reforms and digital health is one of them, according to a statement issued by FICCI.
The (COVID-19) crisis showed the fault lines in the health sector. India is investing too little in health and it is one of the lowest in the world. This crisis has shown that we need to do much more and we need to invest more in the primary, secondary and critical care, Bhushan was quoted as saying in the statement.
Bhushan, CEO of Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY) and the National Health Authority, said the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) blueprint was developed over the last two years, which aims to provide a unique health ID to every citizen and link them together with electronic health records.
The aim is to improve transparency in the sector, make health services more accessible, interoperable, and make policy more evidence-based, he said.
The NDHM has citizens at the centre of the whole concept and we are adopting privacy and security in the design itself and not as an afterthought, the official asserted.
Drawing a parallel with other government initiatives, Bhushan said India has gone through the FinTech revolution and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) which have revolutionised the financial sector, adding we aim to do the same thing in the health sector through NDHM.
We will be providing the digital infrastructure and it will revolutionise the health sector, he said.
Elaborating on the government's digital initiatives, specifically the telemedicine network, Bhushan said, The excitement regarding telemedicine and digitising the whole healthcare system stems from the PM himself.
The NDHM was one of the major announcements from the ramparts of the Red Fort this Independence Day, he added.
The senior official said the implementation of NDHM has been initiated on a pilot basis.
We are acting on the start small, think big and scale fast' principle, and hopefully, in six months, you will start seeing the impact on a larger ecosystem, he noted.
Sangita Reddy, President-FICCI and Joint MD, Apollo Hospitals, said COVID-19 brought together some of the most powerful and innovative thought processes across the world.
Telemedicine is not just tele-consults, it is an integrated platform that one can use. It is evolving and emerging and the day physical medicine and telemedicine are seamlessly integrated is when we have won the telemedicine game, she was quoted as saying in the statement.
She said India is clearly ramping up for the vaccination challenge and it is not just about production.
We will produce for India and the world. One of the critical aspects of administering vaccines is human resources and India has the human resource to do that, Reddy said.
The National Health Service (NHS), UK is looking to acquire doctors and nurses from India to help them in this challenge. This is a tremendous opportunity for India to showcase its capabilities, she added.
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