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Centre announces Rs 23,000 crore to strengthen health infrastructure to battle COVID-19

This is for phase II of the scheme, announced during the onset of pandemic last year

PTI04_20_2021_000092A A pedestrian walks past a wall mural in Mumbai | PTI

In the first cabinet meeting after the expansion, the government approved Rs 23,000 crore for the scheme to accelerate health system preparedness. This is phase II of the scheme, announced during the onset of pandemic last year when Rs 15,000 crore was allotted.

Under this phase, support will be provided to Central government hospitals for repurposing 6,688 COVID-19 beds. 

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will be strengthened by providing Genome Sequencing machines, apart from sanctioning scientific control room and epidemic intelligence services (EIS) facilities. Support will also be provided for implementation of hospital management information system (HMIS) in all the district hospitals of the country (presently, it is implemented only in 310 DHs). 

Funds will used for expanding the national architecture of eSanjeevani tele-consultation platform to provide upto 5 lakhs tele-consultations per day from the present 50,000 consultations per day. 

Assistance will also be given for the central war room at department of health and family welfare (DOHFW), strengthening COVID-19 portal, 1,075 COVID-19 help lines and CoWIN platform.

To tackle the third wave, the scheme will aim to create pediatrics units in all 736 districts and establish pediatrics centre of excellence (PaediatricCoE) in each state/UT. It will augment 20,000 ICU beds in public healthcare system out of which 20 per cent will be pediatric ICU beds, and provide better care in rural areas. The scheme will also help strengthen  the existing feet of ambulances—8,800 ambulances will be added under the package. 

Steps will also be taken to engage undergraduate and post-graduate medical interns and final year MMBS, BSc, & GNM nursing students for effective COVID-19 management.

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