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India set to attain UN SDG goals, opened 1.6 lakh Ayushman Aarogya Mandirs: Centre

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New Delhi, May 29:  With low maternal and infant mortality rates, reduced tuberculosis incidence and mortality, and other improved health targets, India is on track to attain UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), said Apurva Chandra, Union Health Secretary on Wednesday.

He said this while addressing the Plenary Session of the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.

“Showing a significant drop in Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in past decades, India is on track to attain the SDG targets,” said Chandra, who is leading the Indian delegation at the WHA.

“Today, India is on the verge of eliminating Visceral Leishmaniasis (kala-azar) disease and has also reduced the tuberculosis incidence and mortality,” he added.

Chandra said that aligned with the WHA’s theme this year, “All for Health, Health for All” is the age-old Indian tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam which means the “world is one family”.

As part of it, “India launched the Ayushman Bharat meaning ‘Live Long India’ to promote universal health coverage by operationalising more than 1,60,000 Health and Wellness centres (Ayushman Aarogya Mandirs),” he said.

Citing the WHO Parties Self-Assessment Annual Reporting Tool (SPAR) report, Chandra said that India has a core capacity score of 86 per cent to detect, assess, report, and respond to any health emergencies — exceeding the Southeast Asia Region and global average.

He also emphasised that the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) stands as the world’s largest health assurance scheme and provides over 343 million beneficiaries a health cover of $6,000 per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation, reducing the out-of-pocket expenditure in the country.

Citing the digital initiatives in healthcare, he stated that “India has emerged as a lighthouse country in digital public goods for global collaborations”.

Further, calling equitable access to “medical countermeasures a fundamental right for all,” the Union Health Secretary said that “India in collaboration with WHO intends to further strengthen the drug regulatory system to ensure quick access to high-quality medical products for all”.

Chandra said that India’s highly trained and experienced workforce in health is also making the country a “key destination for medical value tourism”.

–IANS

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