MoS health informs parliament about steps taken to check overcharging by private hospitals
New Delhi: The Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, recently apprised the Parliament about the steps taken to check to overcharge by private hospitals amid the ongoing pandemic.
He stated that the Central government has taken a series of actions to prevent, control and mitigate the impact of Covid-19, adding that India followed a "whole of Government" and "whole of society" approach.
This came while submitting a written response to a query raised during the Rajya Sabha session.
Choubey added that the Prime Minister, a High-level Group of Ministers (GoM), Cabinet Secretary, Committee of Secretaries, and senior officers in MoHFW continue to monitor public health response to COVID-19 in the country.
Choubey clarified that Health is a State subject. The responsibility of engaging private hospitals in treating COVID cases is that of the State Government. Union Health Secretary has written to all States/UTs to engage private hospitals through mutually agreeable arrangements. Rates under PM-JAY and CGHS packages have been advised. A large number of States have accordingly issued instructions to that effect.
The minister also elaborated that the public health actions were taken in a pre-emptive, pro-active, graded manner based on the evolving scenario. A number of travel advisories were issued restricting the inflow of international travellers, till such time, commercial flights were suspended on 23rd March 2020. Till then, a total of 14,154 flights with 15,24,266 passengers have been screened at these airports. The screening was also done at 12 major and 65 minor ports and land border crossings.
"In the initial part of the pandemic, India evacuated a large number of stranded passengers from then COVID affected countries (China, Italy, Iran, Japan, Malaysia) and again in the un-lockdown phase, a total of 12,43,176 passengers have been brought back (as on 9th September 2020) and followed up," the response read.
Choubey further mentioned that Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) is conducting contact tracing through community surveillance. In the earlier part of the pandemic, this was done for travel-related cases and subsequently for cases being reported from the community as a part of the containment strategy. As on 10th September 2020, a total of about 40 lakh persons have been kept under surveillance. There are 1697 laboratories conducting COVID-19 Testing. India is testing is about 1 million samples a day. A total of 5.4 crore samples have been tested so far (as on 10th September 2020).
As on 10th September 2020, a total of 15,290 COVID treatment facilities with 13,14,171 dedicated isolation beds without O2 support have been created. Also, a total of 2,31,269 oxygen supported isolation beds and 62,694 ICU beds (including 32,241 ventilator beds). Guidelines on Clinical management of COVID-19 have been issued and are being updated regularly.
In his reply, he also highlighted that states are being supported in terms of supply of logistics. So far 1.39 Crore of PPE Kits, 3.42 crores N-95 masks, 10.84 crore tablets of Hydroxychloroquine and 29,779 ventilators, and 1,02,400 oxygen cylinders have been supplied to States/UTs/ Central Government hospitals so far (as on 10th September 2020).
Various cadres of personnel and volunteers across sectors and departments for COVID related works and maintenance of other essential medical services have been worked out, trained through resources made available on the website of MoHFW, iGOT (online platform) by DOPT (https://igot.gov.in/igot/).
"MoHFW website is being daily to provide the general public with information on the current status of COVID-19 spread in India. Communication material is also being hosted on the MoHFW website and through social media. A dedicated call centre/helpline (1075) has been started to guide community at large which are being used by the citizens very effectively and on a regular basis," Choubey stated.
He also pointed out that more than 30 vaccine candidates have been supported which are in different stages of development, 3 candidates are in the advanced stage of Phase I/II/III trials and more than 4 are in the advanced pre-clinical development stage. A National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 has been constituted on 7th August 2020, under NITI Ayog. Thirteen clinical trials of repurposed drugs have been undertaken to build a portfolio of therapeutic options for Covid-19 patients.