India supporting capacity building of healthcare workers: Mandaviya
Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health

New Delhi: India has taken a quantum leap in leveraging digital solutions for effective health service delivery, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.

Digital health interventions are not limited to individual healthcare delivery programmes but are spread across multiple health outcomes, catering to both communicable and non-communicable diseases, he said.

The minister was speaking at the concluding day of the “Global Conference on Digital Health Taking Universal Health Coverage to the Last Citizen”, a co-branded event under India’s G20 presidency organised by the WHO South-East Asia Region in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

In his address, Mandaviya said India has taken a quantum leap towards leveraging digital health solutions for effective health service delivery.

“In the maternal and child health domain, India has created name-based database of 200 million-plus eligible couples, 140 million pregnant women and 120 million children, who are being monitored for ante-natal, post-natal and immunization related health services.

“Another key example is the NIKSHAY intervention under the National TB Elimination Programme, through which more than 11 million patients are tracked for adherence to TB treatment,” he stated.

Highlighting India’s achievements in digital health and service delivery domain, Mandaviya stated that India’s focus on comprehensive primary healthcare is underlined with the NCD application, through which more than 15 million population of 30-plus age has been screened for five non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

“Using Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP), which was developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization, as a national surveillance system, we have ensured name-based, GIS-enabled near real-time surveillance of 36 epidemic-prone diseases,” he said.

Mandaviya also highlighted other pan-India digital applications such as eRaktkosh (which manages all the blood banks across the country), ORS (Online Reservation System application that provides for online appointment for government facilities across the country), Mera Aspataal (platform for giving feedback on health services provided by hospitals), eSanjeevani (the world’s largest telemedicine network) and CoWIN (vaccine management platform).

“So far, more than 100 million tele-consultations have been conducted through this platform while the globally renowned CoWIN vaccine management platform has supported administration of more than 2.2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses,” he said.

The minister also elaborated on the digital aspects of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), stating that “under the initiative, over 332 million unique patient IDs (ABHA IDs), more than 2,00,000 health facility registries and over 1,44,000 health professional registries have been created.”

Mandaviya said that while India is working towards creating an enabling ecosystem for digital health in the country through various policy-level reforms, implementation and scaling up of these digital interventions is parallelly focused upon.

He said the government has taken ambitious steps towards convergence of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to achieve the overall vision of a digital health ecosystem.

Reiterating India’s commitment towards creating a unified global health architecture, Mandaviya appealed to the global community to “converge our efforts towards building a culture of inter-operability in development of digital solutions not only at the country level, but also globally”.

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He stated that greater focus is required on supplementation of global investments instead of duplication in investments.

“Under the G20 motto of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, India is working towards greater collaboration and sustained efforts across the digital health ecosystem. Leveraging its G20 presidency, India is also encouraging development of a common global platform for sharing of medical countermeasures, technical knowledge, digital infrastructure, and cost-effective digital health solutions,” he added.

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