Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India not just take good care of itself during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic but also helped other countries.
The stellar role played by the country in battling with the pandemic under the leadership of PM Modi is being lauded internationally, Mandaviya said after virtually laying the foundation stones of four healthcare projects here worth nearly Rs 180 crore.
Citing an example of this, he said Bill Gates congratulated India when he led the Indian delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos for the best Covid management and best vaccination drive.
Lauding Modi's leadership for this, the minister said India did not just take good care of itself during the peak of the pandemic but also helped over 150 countries fight the crisis by providing them with vaccines.
"We imported vaccines to 78 countries at the rate of USD 3 per dose at a time when it was being sold at the rate of USD 16-18-20 per dose in other countries,” Mandaviya said.
“To us, health means service, not commerce or business. India's gesture to the world during the pandemic was in keeping with its legacy of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ (entire world is one family)," he said.
"A new India is emerging and Uttarakhand is among the other states that are playing a significant role in it," he said.
Mandaviya joined the foundation laying ceremony via video conference from Joshimath as he could not be physically present here for the programme due to bad weather.
The union minister is on a two-day visit to the state which began on Thursday when he went to the border villages of Malari and Niti to review the progress of development works being done there as part of the ‘Vibrant village scheme’’.
Sharing his feedback based on his talks with locals and officials in Malari, he said healthcare facilities in the remote border villages of Uttarakhand are improving with the establishment of health and wellness centres.
"They go to the Health and Wellness Centres and get the advice of doctors at the district hospital through teleconsultation through the e-Sanjeevani platform," Mandaviya said.
Under the leadership of PM Modi, development has been linked for the first time with the health sector, he said.
" A holistic approach has been adopted towards the health sector. If we need hospitals, we also need doctors to man them and for that, the number of medical colleges and the number of seats in them must go up," he said.
Mandaviya informed that in 2014 there were only 56,000 MBBS seats in the country which have now risen to 1.3 lakh. Similarly, the number of medical colleges has gone up to 664 from 350.
There were only six AIIMs in the country which are now 42, he said.
Mandaviya congratulated Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami for the adoption of all TB patients in the state and advised him to gift a TB-free Uttarakhand to PM Modi on his next birthday.
"I have faith in your leadership. I am confident you can do it," he said.
Mandaviya also assured the state government of all help from the health ministry in successfully conducting the Char Dham Yatra.
"The health ministry will assist you more than your expectations to ensure the safety of pilgrims," he said.
The four projects whose foundation stone was laid included a 500-bed new block at the Doon Medical College and Hospital and one 50-bed Critical Care Block each in Shrinagar Medical College, Rudraprayag and Nainital.
-With PTI Input