Centre seeks proposals on health infra improvement

Covid-19: Centre seeks proposals from the states on health infrastructure improvement

At a review meeting, health ministry officials told the states and union territories to send their proposals at the earliest

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday asked the states to carry out a “gap analysis” of their health infrastructure and quickly submit expenditure proposals to the Centre to bridge such gaps under the government's new Rs 23,000 crore Covid package to boost the health infrastructure in the next nine months.

At a review meeting, ministry officials told the states and union territories to send their proposals at the earliest to enable expeditious approval and sanctioning.

Last week, the Union Cabinet approved a Rs 23,123 crore scheme to improve health infrastructure over the next nine months with a focus on upgrading the medical facilities at 736 districts as the government gears up to tackle the third wave of the epidemic as and when it comes.

Among other things, the government plans to use the scheme to establish a dedicated paediatric care unit in each of the 736 districts, increase the availability of ICU beds including 20% paediatric ICU beds, expand ambulance services to eliminate delays in transport and referral of Covid-19 patients and enhance testing capacity and corresponding supportive diagnostics.

The states will also be supported to set up 1,050 liquid medical oxygen storage tanks along with a medical gas pipeline system - at least one per district - to augment the availability of medical oxygen in the public healthcare system, the Union Health Ministry said in a statement.

Another thrust area would be upgrading the IT and communication infrastructure to run the Hospital Management Information System in every district hospital and strengthening the teleconsultation platform to provide up to five lakh teleconsultation services per day.

Ministry officials advised the states to conduct a quick gap analysis for infrastructure components including their IT infrastructure readiness.

On manpower shortage, the states have been asked to rope in the final year medical and nursing students who would work under the supervision of senior faculty and staff nurses for Covid-19 related emergencies.