Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said that the coronavirus pandemic has provided a steep learning curve for the people to be more prepared for the future in spite of creating disruptions in the normal life.
The health minister emphasized about the various steps India had taken to control the pandemic during a World Bank- IMF annual meeting based on the theme – “Unleashing the South Asian Century through Human Capital for All” and “Investing in COVID-19 Vaccines and Primary Healthcare Delivery System”.
“The COVID pandemic has created disruption in normal life but has also provided a steep learning curve for all of us to be more resilient and prepared for the future. These efforts have been a result of the commitment from all stakeholders,” Vardhan said.
India has been following a pre-emptive, proactive, and graded response characterised by a “Whole of Society, Whole of Government” approach to managing the challenges posed by the global pandemic, he added.
He also lauded the role of the private sector in helping the country to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“Innovation, ability and agility of the private sector have supported the efforts to fight COVID in a big way. PPEs, N95 masks, Oxygen, ventilators and diagnostic tests kits were developed at a jet pace to ensure self-sufficiency. Medical infrastructure saw exponential growth, from having one lab in March 2020 to around 2000 laboratories as on date with nearly half of the labs from the private sector. The same is true for dedicated ICU facilities and isolation centres,” the health minister added.
He also said that the established infrastructure for Universal Immunisation Program will come in handy for last-mile delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine, as and when it becomes available, to the identified priority groups.
“The biggest benefit that India has is the fact that we already have a robust immunization program in place. We are currently implementing the largest immunization program in the world, with nearly 27 million new-borns targeted for immunization annually. We have an established infrastructure for supply, storage and delivery of vaccines to the last mile, under our Universal Immunization Program, where we are administering around 600 million doses to children every year. We have the successful experience of having eliminated Poliomyelitis, and recently conducted the World’s largest Measles-Rubella Campaign covering 330 million children,” Vardhan said.
“The strength of these experiences in the vaccination landscape, our best practices and the robustness of our Health delivery System will be leveraged and augmented using a strong IT backbone, to ensure that this humongous national mission of vaccinating the identified priority groups with COVID-19 vaccine is achieved in a timely manner,” he further said.
“The Indian government will leverage an integrated IT platform e-Vin (electronic Vaccine Intelligent Network) for managing vaccine distribution,” he added.