NEW DELHI :
Allocation for the health sector has flowed towards special requirements in the fight against Covid-19, ranging from ensuring essential medicines to vaccinating the population against coronavirus, said the Economic Survey 2020-21.
The survey summed up that the government assessed, invested and ensured hand sanitisers and protective equipment, including masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits, ventilators and adequate testing and treatment facilities along with essential medicines and coronavirus vaccination.
The survey said that Covid-19 demonstrated the importance of investing and strengthening the public health system.
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The economic survey also took note of the government fast-tracking the processing of applications for clinical trials and new drug including vaccines for Covid-19.
“The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has been able to process more than 150 applications of Covid-19 related new drug and clinical trial applications after thorough deliberation of the proposals in more than 25 Subject Experts Committee meetings through video conference till 4th December 2020,” the survey report.
It added that CDSCO has also approved a total of 242 diagnostic kits for covid-19 on fast-track basis which includes 124 RT PCR kits and 118 Rapid antibody kits till 4 December 2020.
The economic survey noted that in 2020, it was the Covid-19 pandemic that put to test the health infrastructure of India. “The pandemic brought forth the inherent strengths of the medical fraternity in effectively managing the spread of the disease,” said the survey report.
To provide, financial support, the report said that the ‘Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package’ of `15,000 crore was announced and implemented with an aim to deliver a combination of emergency response and health system capacity-building efforts.
The economic survey said that the government has taken several measures including the world’s largest vaccination drive to prevent, control, and mitigate the impact of Covid-19.
“The world’s largest covid-19 immunization programme commenced on 16th January 2021 through the two indigenously manufactured vaccines viz; COVISHIELD and COVAXIN,” the survey report said.
“Based on the humane principle the people at maximum risk of getting infected, about 3 crore people mainly frontline health workers have been offered the vaccine in the first round, while about 30 crores including elderly and people with serious co-morbidities will be vaccinated in the second round,” it added.
It also assured that there will be no compromise of existing healthcare services, especially national programs and primary health care; on scientific and regulatory norms, other standard operating procedures (SOP).
The economic survey noted that there has been impressive growth has been seen in the adoption of telemedicine in India since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. This coincided with the imposition of lockdown in India and the issuance of the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines 2020 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on March 25, 2020.
“eSanjeevani OPD (a patient-to-doctor tele-consultation system) has recorded almost a million consultations since its launch in April 2020. Similar growth was also reported by Practo, which mentioned a 500% increase in online consultations (varying from 200 to 700% across different specialties) in just three months,” the report said.
The number of telemedicine consultations correlates strongly with the Internet penetration in a state. Thus, the economic survey recommended that the success of telemedicine critically hinges on having decent level of health infrastructure and Internet connectivity nationwide. “Specifically, investing in Internet access,…