Under the India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package, the funds will be utilised in three phases with Rs 7,774 crore, sanctioned for immediate COVID-19 emergency response. The remaining funds will be utilised for support over the next one to four years “to be provided under mission mode approach”, the government said.
The package is aimed at slowing and containing the spread of coronavirus in the country by developing diagnostics and COVID-dedicated treatment facilities. It will also be used for centralised procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs needed to treat patients. The fund will be used to prop up “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”, the government said in a statement on Wednesday.
In the first phase, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the support of all the other line ministries has undertaken several activities including expanding diagnostics laboratories network and increasing testing capacity. The government said that “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”.
A majority share of the package, apart from the mentioned activities, will also go towards “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”.
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