Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that India is trying to ensure minimal dependence on foreign countries in the healthcare sector.
He pointed out that as the pandemic focused the global attention on health, India went a step further and focused on wellness.
“That is why we have put forward a vision before the world – One Earth, One Health. This involves holistic healthcare for all creatures- humans, animals or plants” said the Prime Minister, while addressing a Post Budget Webinar on the subject of ‘Health and Medical Research’.
Highlighting the growing confidence of the world in the pharma sector of India, the Prime Minister emphasized the need to capitalize on this and work towards protecting this image.
He informed that a new programme is being launched to boost research and innovation in the pharma sector through centres of excellence which will strengthen the economy as well as create new opportunities for employment.
The Prime Minister noted the absence of an integrated long-term vision for health for many decades after Independence. The Prime Minister said that the government is now pushing the whole-of-the-government approach instead of limiting the subject of health to just the Health Ministry.
Underlining the importance of strong health infrastructure for the treatment of serious ailments, the Prime Minister said more than 1.5 lakh health centres are being developed across the country close to residential areas so that testing centres and first aid are available.
The Prime Minister said Critical health infrastructure is being made accessible to small towns and villages under the PM-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission which is not only giving rise to new hospitals but it is also creating a new and complete health ecosystem.
“Making medical treatment affordable has been the top-most priority of our government”, said the Prime Minister, informing that through Ayushman Bharat, about Rs 80,000 crore of the poor patients were saved due to free treatment under the scheme.
Modi said that March 7 is observed as Jan Aushadhi Diwas, and he pointed out that affordable medicines through 9000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras have saved about Rs 20,000 crore of the poor and middle classes all over the country. “This means that just these two schemes saved one lakh crore rupees of the citizens” he added.
Regarding human resources in the sector, the Prime Minister informed that more than 260 new medical colleges have been opened in the last few years.
“This has doubled the medical seats in graduate and postgraduate medical courses as compared to 2014” he said.
The Prime Minister underlined the emphasis on the nursing field in this year’s Budget. “Opening 157 nursing colleges in the vicinity of the medical colleges is a huge step in the direction of medical human resources. This may be useful in fulfilling global demand, not just the domestic need”, he added.
The Prime Minister reiterated the lessons learnt with regard to supply chain during the pandemic and said that it has become a matter of great concern.
He lamented the fact that life-saving equipment like medicines, vaccines and medical devices were weaponised when the pandemic was at its peak.
Highlighting the role of technology in medical services he said “We want to give timely healthcare to the citizens through the facility of Digital Health ID. 10 crore people have already benefited by teleconsultation through schemes like e-Sanjivini”, he said.
“5G is creating new opportunities in this sector for startups. Drones are bringing revolutionary changes in medicine delivery and testing services” he said.
“This is a great opportunity for the entrepreneurs and will give a push to our efforts for universal healthcare”, he said, exhorting the entrepreneurs to avoid the import of any technology. The Prime Minister listed the required institutional response in this regard” he said.
“The market size of the pharma sector in India is 4 lakh crores today”, the Prime Minister said. He stressed the need to find coordination between the private sector and academia as it has the potential to grow the market size beyond Rs 10 lakh crores.