09 April 2020
New Delhi: The Central government has approved a Covid-19 emergency response and health system preparedness package in a bid to strengthen the national and state health systems.
The Centrally funded project will be implemented in three phases -- from January 2020 to March 2024 -- stated an April 7 letter signed by National Health Mission Director Vandana Gurnani. The first phase will be from January 2020 to June 2020.
"The project will be implemented with the objectives of emergency COVID-19 response, strengthening national and state systems, procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs, strengthening of surveillance including setting up of laboratories and bio-security preparedness," the letter addressed to additional chief secretaries, principal secretary and commissioner of state and union territories, stated.
It said the Union Health Ministry is releasing funds to states and UTs under the immediate response for the first phase. The key activities to be implemented under the phase include support for dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, isolation blocks, ICUs with ventilators and oxygen supply in hospitals.
It would include "procurement of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and ventilators over and above what is being procured and supplied by the government of India."
The first phase will also include strengthening of identified laboratories, expansion of diagnostics capacities, including procurement of diagnostic equipment, testing kits and other reagents and mobility support for sample transport.
Hospitals, government offices, public utilities and ambulances will also be disinfected under this phase.
Gurnani said that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has already released the funds under the immediate response of the package for states and UTs under National Health Mission for the implementation of phase 1 up to June 2020.