COVID-19 Could be Helpful To Speed Up Ayushman Bharat Scheme: WHO

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World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Saturday said that the COVID-19 pandemic which has presented challenges for several nations could be an opportunity for India to speed up the health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat.

WHO Director-general Ghebreyesus while responding to a question on the COVID-19 situation in the country said that India went past Italy on Friday to become the sixth worst-hit nation by the COVID-19 pandemic.

India has seen a record single-day jump of 9,887 coronavirus cases and 294 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the nationwide infection tally to 2,36,657 and the number of deaths to 6,642, according to the health ministry.

WHO Chief while addressing the media personnel at Geneva said, “Of course COVID is very unfortunate and it’s challenging for many nations but we need to look for opportunities too. For instance for India, this could be an opportunity to speed up Ayushman Bharat, especially with a focus on primary health care. I know there is a very strong commitment from the government to speed up the implementation of Ayushman Bharat and with primary healthcare and community engagement, I think we can really turn the tide.”

Ayushman Bharat is the world’s largest health insurance scheme and was launched by the Narendra Modi government in 2018. Last month, PM Modi had said that the number of people who have benefited from the scheme crossed the one crore mark.

The scheme aims to cover more than 500 million beneficiaries and provide coverage of Rs 500,000 per family, per year.

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