Need to build hospital infrastructure, human resources and ICU facility at the grass-root level; opportunity for private sector
The second wave of COVID-19 has been more catastrophic than the first one, and it overwhelmed the health system for a while. The government has taken a series of measures since then and there has been a steady decline in the number of active cases, said Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, while addressing a virtual ‘Interactive session on Saving Lives and Livelihood’ organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers and Industry (FICCI), along with OYO.
“There has been further ramping up of the vaccination drive and the private sector has played a pivotal role in managing the pandemic and has complimented the efforts of the government in a significant way,” he added.
While speaking, Kant also applauded the role of the private sector in the overall vaccination drive. “There may be a slight demand-supply imbalance in vaccination during June-July, but from August onwards, there will be an adequate amount of vaccines available. From then on, we should be able to vaccinate everybody in India properly and that should help us,” he said.
Kant further said that all of us need to be responsible to save ourselves from a third wave because if the third wave happens, then the children and people in rural areas will get impacted. “We need to build up both hospital infrastructure and human resources. We need to ensure ICU facility at the grass-root level. This is also an opportunity for the private sector to come forward,” he added.
He also emphasised on the need to build up a model of private-public-partnership in which government acts as a facilitator and the private sector comes forward.
“If we leave everything on the government, it will be difficult to achieve the goal. This is an opportunity to create the infrastructure in the rural areas and in tier-II and tier-III cities. We should not lose the momentum of creating good-quality infrastructure and associations like FICCI will play a very important role in this,” he said.
The private sector, he said, came forward in bolstering the supply chain, supplementing oxygen capabilities, ramping up of medical infrastructure and providing oxygen concentrators and technical assistance to several government agencies.
“We are working with the private sector and international developmental organisations with an aim to forge strong partnership to strengthen our response to the pandemic,” Kant added.
He further stated that when the situation worsened and international assistance started pouring in, we worked on a war footing to coordinate all assistance, ensured zero delays, and all items dispatched to destinations with the use of technology in a transparent manner.
“We used technology to develop a fully digital and transparent end-to-end system which enabled all aid coming via government-to-government and private-to-government channels,” he noted.
Adding to it, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Group CEO, OYO, said, “India Inc has shown immense resilience to COVID-19 in the past year. We’ve opened our hotels to those who need the most during these times. As part of OYO CARE, we have partnered with hospitals and healthcare services providers to provide isolation and quarantine facilities to healthcare professionals and frontline workers. We also believe that vaccination will be key to build trust and confidence among travellers when they are ready to step out again. OYO is using technology to give its hotel staff vaccine visibility with the ‘VaccinAid’ feature on the app.”