Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya appealed to states and Union territories on Tuesday for timely utilisation of central funds to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure and expedite the implementation of people-centric health services at the grassroots. He also urged states and Union territories to accelerate the coverage of precaution dose of COVID-19 vaccines by organising camps at public places under the Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Mandaviya also advised them to widely publicise the availability of heterologous precaution dose of Corbevax vaccine and to organise vaccination camps at public places such as bus stands, railway stations, airports, schools/colleges, pilgrimage routes and religious places to increase the uptake of precaution dose among the eligible beneficiaries. As on date, 12.36 crore precaution doses have been administered, according to the statement.
”Government of India has been working in the spirit of cooperative and collaborative federalism with states and UTs for creating, expanding and strengthening a multi-tier health infrastructure network across the country,” Mandaviya said. He was interacting virtually with the health ministers of states to review the implementation of various flagship schemes of the government, including National Health Mission and the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, and various projects under the Emergency COVID Response Package-II.
Mandaviya also reviewed the progress of the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign with specific focus on administration of precaution dose under the Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav. This was part of a series of meetings chaired by Mandaviya to review progress and expedite utilisation of central funds allocated to states under various schemes and packages for upgrading and strengthening of critical care infrastructure, according to the statement.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Health Minister Manish Sisodia attended the meeting. State health ministers who joined the meet included Rajiv Saizal (Himachal Pradesh), Veena George (Kerala), K Sudhakar (Karnataka), Dhan Singh Rawat (Uttarakhand), Vidadhala Rajani (Andhra Pradesh), Keshab Mahanta (Assam), Anil Vij (Haryana), Banna Gupta (Jharkhand), Mani Kumar Sharma (Sikkim), Thiru Ma Subramanian (Tamil Nadu), T Harish Rao (Telangana), T S Singh Deo (Chhattisgarh), Brijesh Pathak (Uttar Pradesh), and Prabhuram Choudhary (Madhya Pradesh).
Reiterating the prime minister’s philosophy of viewing an adversity as an opportunity to learn from and build upon our strengths, Mandaviya stated the pandemic has taught us to invest in critical care infrastructure in every district and block. He assured the government is committed to supporting states and Union territories in their efforts towards providing accessible, affordable, quality and equitable public healthcare services to the citizens.
Expressing concern over low utilisation of central funds in some states, he said, ”Instead of the Centre reviewing the low funds utilisation, the states ought to enhance their performance and expeditiously seek funds from the Centre for speedy implementation of health schemes.” Funds under the Emergency COVID Response Package-II need to be utilised soon as the package is available till December 2022, he emphasised. Mandaviya invited the state health ministers to share the challenges faced by them towards this goal and sought their suggestions for further facilitating funds utilisation.
State health ministers, while noting some challenges, expressed gratitude to Mandaviya for his personal supervision and regular review meetings for expediting the progress of these schemes at the grassroots level, the statement noted. Mandaviya urged the state health ministers for personally reviewing the funds utilisation on a regular basis and ensuring that no funds remain unutilised. He also urged them to regularly update the portal of the Union Health Ministry indicating the physical and financial progress of health infrastructure schemes.
Highlighting the achievements of Covid vaccination, Mandaviya urged the states and UTs to accelerate the coverage of precaution dose among the 18-plus population under the 75-day Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav which started on July 15. States and UTs were also advised to ensure that all vaccine doses are utilised on the basis of FEFO (First Expiry First Out) principle to avoid expiry of the vaccines. ”Vaccines are precious national resource and states need to ensure that not even a single dose expires, through meticulous planning and regular review,” Mandaviya stressed.
”Let us speedily cover all eligible beneficiaries for health services under PMJAY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana) by ensuring that remaining beneficiaries are provided PMJAY cards by organising special camps,” he told the state ministers.