The Centre has announced Rs 15,000 crore for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package.’ The funds sanctioned will be utilised for immediate COVID-19 Emergency Response – Rs 7,774 crore and rest for medium-term support (1-4 years) to be provided under mission mode approach.
In a statement on Thursday, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said the key objectives of the package include mounting emergency response to slow and limit COVID-19 in India through the development of diagnostics and COVID-19 dedicated treatment facilities, centralised procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs required for treatment of infected patients, strengthen and build resilient national and state health systems to support prevention and preparedness for future disease outbreaks.
It will also focus on setting up of laboratories and bolstering surveillance activities, bio-security preparedness, pandemic research and proactively engage communities and conduct risk communication activities. These interventions and initiatives would be implemented under the overall umbrella of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on March 24 had highlighted that “the Central government has provisioned 15 thousand crore rupees for treating coronavirus patients and strengthening the medical infrastructure of the country.” “This will allow for rapidly ramping up the number of corona testing facilities, personal protective equipment (PPE), isolation beds, ICU beds, ventilators, and other essential equipment. Simultaneously, training of medical and paramedical manpower will also be undertaken,” Prime Minister Modi had said.
The major share of the expenditure will be used for mounting robust emergency response, strengthening national and state health systems followed by strengthening pandemic research and multi-sector national institutions and platforms for one health, community engagement and risk communication and implementation, management, capacity building, monitoring, and evaluation component.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is authorised to re-appropriate resources among components of the package and among the various implementation agencies — National Health Mission, Central Procurement, Railways, Department of Health Research/ICMR, and National Centre for Disease Control — as per the evolving emergent situation.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has been playing a lead role in executing the health sector response with containment and control as key response strategies. As on date, a total of 223 labs comprising a network of 157 government and 66 private laboratories are conducting a rigorous screening process. Furthermore, MoHFW has already disbursed Rs 4,113 crore to all the States and UTs for dealing with the emergency COVID response, added said the statement.