A day after taking charge, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan showered praise on yoga guru Ramdev for his “exemplary” work on preventive health and said he is actually doing work that the ministry should be doing. He said he was grateful to Ramdev and not averse to roping him in to further his agenda of promotion of preventive health.
Replying to a question on whether he would seek the services of Ramdev in promoting preventive healthcare, the minister, who is an ENT specialist, told The Indian Express: “I will rope in anybody who can make a difference. So far as Ramdev is concerned, he is already doing the ministry’s work. There is no person who has single-handedly done as much for preventive medicine as him. He has made yoga the biggest health movement of the world not just India. I am grateful to him.”
Meanwhile, in his first meeting with health officials on Monday, Harsh Vadhan had unveiled his vision of focussing on disease prevention — which he said is 80 per cent of the job — rather than on creation of infrastructure for their treatment. He told officials that building hospitals on which emphasis has always been, is actually the smaller part of ensuring health for all and measures like banning junk food in school and government office canteens and building playgrounds could be more effective measures.
Credited with starting the pulse polio programme during his stint as Delhi health minister, Harsh Vardhan said that measles eradication is something that the country could well set it sights on but he did not believe it was time to make health an entitlement.