Despite limitations of “long-neglected medical infrastructure” and “pressure of population”, India’s per lakh population rate of Covid-19 infection and death rate is still “manageable” compared to other developed countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.
Addressing the doctors’ community on the occasion of Doctor’s Day, he said the loss of lives is always painful, but many lives have been saved too and the credit goes to hard-working doctors, healthcare workers, and frontline workers.
Modi’s remarks came at a time when the second wave of Covid seems to be loosening its grip with 48,786 new cases and 1,005 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. On May 7, 4,14,188 new Covid cases were registered in one day, the highest ever.
He underlined the focus of the government on strengthening healthcare, saying “about Rs 15,000 crore was allocated for healthcare during the ‘first wave’ and this year, health sector budget has been doubled to more than Rs 2 lakh crore”.
“As much as Rs 50,000 crore has been allocated for credit guarantee scheme to develop health infrastructure in the under-served area. New AIIMS, medical colleges are being established. Work has been initiated on 15 AIIMS as opposed to a total of six AIIMS that existed in 2014.
“Number of medical colleges have increased one and half times. Undergraduate medical seats have increased one and half times and PG seats have grown by 80 per cent,” he said.
Modi reiterated the government’s commitment to the safety of doctors and mentioned that stringent laws have been brought in for preventing violence against doctors. “Along with this, a free insurance cover scheme has been brought for the Covid warriors.”
The Prime Minister called upon the doctors to continue to inspire the people to get vaccinated and adopt Covid appropriate behaviour and commended the medical fraternity for spreading awareness about yoga.
He praised the doctors for giving their time to evidence-based studies on the benefits of yoga for dealing with post-Covid complications and asked if Indian Medical Association can take up the evidence-based studies on yoga in a mission mode.
He also suggested that studies on yoga could be published in international journals.
Stressing on the importance of documentation of experiences by doctors, the Prime Minister further said symptoms of the patients and treatment plan needs to be documented in great detail along with the experiences. “This can be taken up as a research study where effects of various medicines and treatments are noted.”
Noting that the sheer number of patients served by Indian doctors put them ahead of the world, he said: “Now is the time when the world takes cognizance and take benefit from these scientific studies. A covid pandemic can be a good starting point for this.”
The Prime Minister also asked if doctors could study more deeply how vaccines and early diagnosis helps. “There is no documentation available about the last century’s pandemic but now we have the technology and our documentation about how we faced Covid will help humanity,” he said.