India’s decentralised but unified mechanism was behind COVID-19 unique response strategy: Health Minister

New Delhi, November 11

 India’s decentralised but unified mechanism to provide universal, accessible, equitable and affordable healthcare to one and all was the driving force behind the unique response strategy for COVID-19, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Wednesday.

Addressing BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Health Ministers Conference, he said India’s COVID-19 response approach was preemptive, proactive and graded.

Starting with early screening and isolation of passengers, imposing lockdowns and creating containment zones to prevent over-burdening of health facilities and personnel, propagating behaviour change as an integral move to contain the spread, and ultimately recognizing the imperative need for reopening of the economy in a phased, cautious and responsible manner, he said.

Vardhan said while the Centre steered this movement with constant monitoring and evaluation, providing handholding support to the states to tackle this crisis holistically, respective state governments also undertook various unique strategies to keep their response mechanism agile and vigilant.

“Our decentralized but unified mechanism to provide universal, accessible, equitable and affordable healthcare to one and all was the driving force behind our unique response strategy for COVID-19,” Vardhan said.

He said India has curated its response, keeping in mind the large population size.

“Several technological innovations were also leveraged in our pandemic management efforts. While applications such as Arogya Setu and ITIHAS facilitate rapid contact tracing and surveillance, the interactive and dynamic COVID India Portal enabled real time tracking and monitoring,” Vardhan added.

The iGOT portal (Integrated Government Online Training) was also launched as a training module for our frontline health workers, he said.

“We worked round-the-clock to boost domestic production and expand our healthcare workforce, thus bridging major gaps in demand and supply of essentials such as testing kits, PPEs, ventilators etc. Furthermore, an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat movement has now been launched to become self-sufficient in all our capacities,” Vardhan said.

He underlined the need for an aggressive roadmap and a strong show of solidarity to curtail any present and future risks threatening safety and wellbeing of millions of global citizens.

“There is also an impending need to share reliable and accurate data and any lessons drawn in the course of managing this pandemic, to eliminate any threat of emerging disease outbreaks and ensuring equitable and inclusive access to healthcare for one and all,” he said. PTI

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