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COVID-19 health crisis has revealed fault lines in urban and digital health: CEO Ayushman Bharat

COVID-19 health crisis has revealed fault lines in urban and digital health: CEO Ayushman Bharat


COVID-19 health crisis has revealed fault lines in urban and digital health: CEO Ayushman Bharat

The coronavirus pandemic revealed the fault lines on urban and digital health care in India, says Dr Indu Bhushan, CEO of Ayushman Bharat. Speaking at a virtual event conducted by The Nudge Foundation. Bhushan said 100TB data helped the government in the detection of high-risk groups, people with co-morbidities to provide information and education for COVID-19.

He pointed out that the IT backbone that has been created in the process is now being sought after by many states. “Our call centre supported during the crisis and so far 60 lakh calls fielded so far. Initiatives like these help build resilience during medical emergencies,” the CEO said.

The outgoing Secretary Union Health Ministry, Preeti Sudan said India has trained over 7 million people to tackle the pandemic. She said one of the key elements of resilience is a statement of deliverables in primary healthcare. “In the context of COVID-19, we need to know what are the targets, given the physical geographical diversity,” Sudan said. “We also have local epidemics. All this means we need to define deliverables, and we need to merge vertical programs horizontally.” Sudan stressed that the health ministry cannot alone handle health. The Ministry of Women and Child, Ministry of Rural Development, Swacch Bharat, Fit India Movement, etc. and multi-sectoral ministries have to converge to make the healthcare resilient. Sudan said India had increased seats in medical colleges, undergraduate and postgraduate specialists, diplomas. “We have also started with Health & wellness centres, community health providers,” she shared. “This will help build resilience, and it is being done in medical education. We have 44,000 community health providers in our health & wellness centres.”

Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman & Founder of Narayana Health, pointed out that there would be an expected shortage of 12 to 13 million healthcare professionals across the world in the near future. Shetty said in this regard, developed countries will turn to developing countries. “It is an existential threat to India to not look at the healthcare needs of the world.” The Chairman said medical institutes need to reorganize training programs so that students can easily pass entrance exams and as such, get suitable jobs.

About 500 medical colleges across India, today, can take up to 100 to 150 students per year. We have 700 district hospitals. These should be part of medical colleges,” he said. “Each medical college should be asked to double the number of seats. Pre-clinical training happens on the campus, Clinical work in the district hospital.”

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