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150 days, two crore cards under Ayushman Bharat: Dr Indu Bhushan at MFI 2019

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By Akanki Sharma / New delhi

In a bid to support India’s ambitious dream of Ayushman Bharat and Universal Healthcare, the 25th edition of MFI 2019 was held in Delhi. Global medical devices manufacturers, industry bodies and associations, healthcare experts, think tanks and policy makers from over 25 countries participated in the three-day medical trade show organised by Messe Dusseldorf India.

Addressing Medical Fair

India in a message on the first day, Jagat Prakash Nadda, Minister of Health and Family Welfare stated, “The Government of India, under the ambit of Ayushman Bharat is committed towards ensuring Universal Healthcare to all, a system which is devoid of any financial hardships and improving quality of life for people. I am confident that Medical Fair India will act as a platform for healthcare experts and stakeholders to share and discuss tangible solutions to diverse healthcare bottlenecks, challenges and issues of concerns.”

“Medical Fair India is well known for its ability to detect trends and respond to new innovations. Keeping pace with the global developments in medical and healthcare space, MFI 2019 will successfully demonstrate the potential of Indian healthcare sector on the world map,” said Thomas Schlitt, Managing Director, Messe Düsseldorf India.

MFI 2019 hosted a variety of attractions including CLIN LAB India, Future for Health (FTR4H), REHAINDIA and the Make in India Pavilion. Technology Mela by Kalam Institute of Health Technology was a key attraction at MFI 2019.

On the second day of MFI, Indu Bhushan, CEO, Ayushman Bharat, inaugurated the 4th VOH International Conference on Viable Healthcare for all. He said, “For the first time in the history of independent India, the health sector has become a political commitment. Government of India has shown its commitment towards strengthening the healthcare eco-system in the country by increasing the investments to 2.5 per cent. We have completed 150 days and have issued two crore cards. We are issuing four to five lakh cards every day. 15000 hospitals have joined the movement, and 15 per cent of these are private hospitals. The future of this movement lies in a good integration between the private and public healthcare entities. I urge all entities to not sit on the fence and wait for the change. Join in and make the change happen.”

Also, talking about the flaws and a lackadaisical attitude of people in the system, Bhushan mentioned, “We want to eliminate fraud and abuse in the system. Globally, six to eight per cent cases can be termed as fraud. However, we want to have a system where our money is useful for the benefit of people.”

Sharing their ideas and suggestions on e-pharmacies, panellists informed that incentivisation of startups by the government in terms of minimal tax and single-window clearance for projects will make healthcare more accessible to the people in rural areas. “At present, we are producing a force of 1.5 lakh pharmacists in India,” said one of the panelists.

Colonel Hemraj (Retd), CEO, BR Life Hospitals informed that currently, there are 300 medical colleges in the country. In the long run, perhaps, all district hospitals would be converted into medical colleges.

VG Somani, Joint Drug Controller General (India) talked about the contribution of Indian pharmacy to the world. “India is providing medicines to 40 per cent population of the world. Our medicines reach 205 countries,” he informed.

There were also deliberations on various challenges faced by the healthcare sector. With several hospitals facing lack of beds, a panelist informed that government hospitals have more beds as compared to private ones, but 50 per cent of these are not functional due to lack of manpower. Also, Dr Anil Kohli, Past President, Dental Council of India, Consultant to President of India said that there is a need for public-private partnership so that society can experience better healthcare.

With regards to Ayushman Bharat scheme facing challenges in some states, Mahendra Pala, VP – Business Development, Gleneagles Global Hospitals, informed that none of the hospitals are empanelled in Ayushman Bharat in Telangana.

Mobile application of Meddo — India’s first end-to-end aggregated private clinic chain — was also launched at the conference. “Patients have to keep running here and there because everything is not being collected at one place. What that leads to is, no data being aggregated and thereby insurance not being penetrated into the way it should. We are trying to create a network that can then enable into an OPD care for people through one single gateway,” Saurabh Kochhar, Co-founder and CEO, Meddo, told Express Healthcare.

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