Rs 23,123-Crore Package for Covid-19
STORIES, ANALYSES, EXPERT VIEWS
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced phase-II of the Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Preparedness package. The package includes creation of paediatric units in all 736 districts, installation of 1,050 liquid medical oxygen storage tanks with medical gas pipeline systems that will support one unit per district, and expansion of the teleconsultation platform that will offer 5 lakh consultations per day.
The Rs 23,123 crore package is designed especially to augment state governments’ existing response to the second wave, and to prepare in advance for a probable third wave.
Focus of the package
The new Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the package focuses on augmenting infrastructure of paediatric care at the district level, increase in the number of beds in rural, peri-urban areas (outskirts), and support to districts’ creation of buffer stocks of essential medicines. In the Rs 23,123 crore package, both Centre and states will implement the scheme, he said. “The Centre will provide Rs 15,000 crore and states will spend Rs 8,123 crore,” he said.
Support will be provided to create paediatric units in all 736 districts, and augment 20,000 ICU beds in government hospitals, of which 20 per cent will be pediatric ICU beds.
The package will also provide financial support for creation of prefabricated structures for additional beds at existing community health centres, primary health centres (6-20-bed units). It will also provide support to create bigger field hospitals (50-100-bed units) depending on the needs in tier-II or tier-III cities and district headquarters.
To augment oxygen availability, the package will provide support for installation of 1,050 liquid medical oxygen storage tanks with the Medical Gas Pipeline System, which will support at least one such unit per district.
The package will also focus on enhancing the IT infrastructure in pandemic response. The package will have three specific components in IT interventions; from the current 310 district hospitals, it will provide support for creation of Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) in all district hospitals to give a further push for implementation of the National Digital Health Mission; it will support the expansion of National Architecture of eSanjeevani Tele-consultation platform to provide up to 5 lakh teleconsultations per day; and strengthen the central war room at the Health Ministry.
The new package will support the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) by providing genome sequencing machines; support will also be provided to central medical institutions, including AIIMS, for re-purposing 6,688 beds for Covid-19 management.