New Delhi: the Government of India has sanctioned Rs.15000 crores for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’. The funds sanctioned will be utilized for immediate COVID-19 Emergency Response (amount of Rs.7774 crores) and rest for medium-term support (1-4 years) to be provided under mission mode approach.

The key objectives of the package include mounting emergency response to slow and limit Coronavirus in India through the development of diagnostics and COVID-19 dedicated treatment facilities, centralized procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs required for treatment of infected patients, strengthen and build 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. These interventions and initiatives would be implemented under the overall umbrella of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The major share of the expenditure will be used for mounting robust emergency response, strengthening National and State health systems followed by strengthening pandemic research and multi-sector national institutions and platforms for One Health, community engagement and risk communication and implementation, management, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation component. M/o Health & Family Welfare is authorized to re-appropriate resources among components of the package and among the various implementation agencies (National Health Mission, Central Procurement, Railways, Dept of Health Research/ICMR, National Centre for Disease Control) as per the evolving emergent situation.

MoHFW has been playing a lead role in executing the health sector response with containment and control as key response strategies. As on date, a total of 223 labs comprising a network of 157 government & 66 private laboratories are conducting rigorous screening process. Furthermore, MoHFW has already disbursed Rs. 4113 Crore to all the States and UTs for dealing with the emergency COVID response.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.