Investment In Primary Healthcare By Indian Govt Is Right: WHO Chief
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday praised India for its investment in primary healthcare, saying that “the investment in primary healthcare in Ayushman Bharat by the government of India is the right investment.”
He said that WHO has been telling countries to invest in the primary healthcare system and India is doing that.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made these remarks after his visit to a Health and Wellness Centre in Adraj Moti Village in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar. He is due to participate in the Traditional Medicine Global Summit set to be organised by WHO and co-hosted by the Ministry of Ayush in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar on August 17-18.
Speaking to reporters after his visit to the healthcare centre in Adraj, Ghebreyesus said, “You know, from the start when this was announced by the government some years ago, the Ayushman Bharat Initiative, WHO supported because we believe that primary healthcare, countries should invest in primary health care. That’s what we have been telling countries and India is actually doing that.”
“And for any health system, a strong primary health care is key because most of the services can be provided at primary health care level, more than 80 per cent. And not only that, outbreaks can be prevented at primary health care and can be detected early at primary health care level. So, the investment in primary health care in Ayushman Bharat by the government of India is the right investment. And that’s what we’re asking all countries to really focus,” he added.
WHO Director-General said that many nations, including high-income countries, were surprised by COVID-19 as there was a lack of investment in primary healthcare. He called investment in primary healthcare a “right initiative”, for all the nations.
“As you know, many countries, including high-income countries, were surprised by COVID. The problem was because of lack of investment in primary healthcare. So, when I say investment in primary healthcare, it’s for all countries, whether it’s high-income, middle income or low-income. So this is the right investment,” he said.
Speaking about his visit to healthcare centre in Adraj, he said, “I have been talking about Ayushman Bharat and you know commending the initiative but I’m glad that I have visited today, one of which and see firsthand how it functions and including by the way, telemedicine. There was consultation with a doctor 40 km from here.”
“And I’m really happy that not only services provided here, but patients, instead of travelling to far places and spending on transport fees and so on, they can get additional services remotely from here. And that’s what we have witnessed, one person getting the benefit of telemedicine. So, I’m glad to witness first and how the Ayushman Bharat is doing. Of course, there are more than 150,000 across the country and I hope the government will continue to invest in this,” he added.
Asked about India’s COVID journey, he said, “COVID is behind us and India did its best.”
He said that nations must continue to remain vigilant as many countries are not testing enough. He stated that the WHO is following the EG.5 variant and will do everything on this and any emerging variant.
“On new variants, not only EG.5, we would expect more variants to emerge. What’s important is to really continue to do our tests. I mean continue to be vigilant because many countries are not testing enough and we wouldn’t know whether the virus is changing or not,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in response to a question regarding EG.5 variant.
“So from the EG.5, what we can say is new variants may emerge and continuing to test will be very important and see how the virus is behaving. But we’re following this particular variant and we will do everything not only on this variant but any emerging variant. But, we countries should continue to be vigilant,” he added. (ANI)
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