Coronavirus could be an opportunity for India to speed up Ayushman Bharat: WHO chief
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, with a special focus on primary healthcare, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The WHO Director-General was responding to a question on the COVID-19 situation in India, where the number of coronavirus cases are increasing rapidly. India went past Italy on Friday to become the sixth worst-hit nation by the COVID-19 pandemic.
India saw a record single-day jump of 9,887 coronavirus cases and 294 deaths on Saturday, pushing the nationwide infection tally to 2.36 lakh and the death toll to 6,642, according to the health ministry.
"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," said Ghebreyesus during a press briefing in Geneva on Friday.
"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," he added.
Ayushman Bharat is the world's largest health insurance scheme and was launched by the Narendra Modi government in 2018. Last month, Modi 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 5 lakh per family per year.