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Government sanctions Rs 15,000 crore package to fight Covid-19

Government sanctions Rs 15,000 crore package to fight Covid-19

The government, in a meeting of the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, approved investments to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore for 'India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package'.

The sanctioned funds will be utilized in three phases with Rs 7,774 Crore allotted for immediate emergency response and rest for medium-term support (1-4 years) to be provided under mission mode approach.

The key objectives of the package include mounting emergency response to slow and limit Covid-19 in India through the development of diagnostics and dedicatcd treatment facilities, centralized 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, setting up of laboratories and bolster 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.

In Phase 1, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, with the support of all the other line ministries, has already undertaken several activities like:

– Additional funds to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore have been released under the Package to State/UTs, for strengthening of existing health facilities as Covid dedicated hospitals, dedicated Covid health center and dedicated Covid care centers. Detailed guidelines, protocols and advisory for quarantine, isolation, testing, treatment, disease containment, decontamination, social distancing and surveillance. Hotspots have been identified and appropriate containment strategies are being implemented.

– Diagnostics laboratories network has been expanded and testing capacity increasing every day. Leveraging on the existing multi-disease testing platforms under National TB Elimination Programme, orders for procurement of 13 lakhs diagnostic kits have been placed to augment Covid-19 testing.

– All health workers including Community Health Volunteers (ASHAs) have been covered with insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package: Insurance Scheme for Health Workers fighting Covid-19'. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), N95 masks and ventilators, testing kits and drugs for treatment are being procured centrally.

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 communications and implementation, management, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation component..