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Mansukh Mandaviya – Key Motivator of Upgrading of Indian Public Health Services

Here is a commentary on how the Indian healthcare system, in the last 15 Months has managed to defeat Covid and embarked on a journey of improvising the pan-India healthcare system. In all this, role of Union Minister for Health Shri Mansukh Mandaviya must get acknowledged.

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The covid monster has slowly been put into a slumber – hopefully for a long time –  but the aftermath of the pandemic left India with a clear view of the huge mountain it has to climb. This in terms of creating and upgrading our public health infrastructure to match the needs of our ever burdegeoning population and ever rising cases of new and old diseases spreading across the regions.

While Dr Harshvardhan did a great job during the pandemic, hon’ble Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi had a different man in his mind to take his vision forward on this front. It was a man from his own home state – a young star who joined his panel of ministers in 2016  at a relatively young age of 44. Dr Mansukh Mandaviya took over this duty in July 202 after a stellar performance as Minister of State in the Chemicals and Fertilizers ministry, for which he is also the minister now.

Over the past 15 months, Dr Mansukh has been handling double duties. But for our focus today we are going to look at how his proactive approach has strengthened the infrastructure and what’s in store in the near future. 

July 2021, was not an easy time. We were stil reeling from the after effects of multiple covid waves, staggering death counts and broken bridges of a social life for the public stuck between isolation and reopening of the world. Hospitals were still coping from the hangover of the covid protocols while the next festive season – the first one in post-apocalyptic era – was swiftly approaching. It was time for careful planning and efficient execution and that’s what Dr Mansukh did. His experience as part of the Covid 19 GoM led by Dr Harshvardhan surely helped him and the belief shown in his ability by PM Modi made him more confident.

Even in the initial days, he left a lasting impression upon the ministry officials. He made it clear that he wants discipline and action. He made it clear that he wanted results and improvements and not just discussions and promises. The ministry officials knew that the new boss was a doer rather than a sayer and things moved quickly henceforth.

In the past 15 months, we have seen him take part in multiple inspections across major hospitals from Delhi’s prestigious Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital to the PGIMER campus in Sanngrur, and AIIMS Raipur. He has also traversed the length and breadth of India covering cities from Patna and Bhopal to Kerala, Chennai and Vizianagaram in Andhra. At Patna, he laid the foundation stone for multiple new projects at AIIMS Patna.

He is also known for being a surprise visit specialist – doing surgical strikes against those who are not delivering on the promises of the government to the public. His surprise visits at Delhi’s RML and on multiple Jan Aushadhi Kendras in Mumbai were all useful in catching any issues usually masked over during scheduled visits. The staff at major hospitals including AIIMS, RML and Safdurjung were told that such visits can happen anytime and they must be ready always and treat every patient with the utmost care they deserve.His adventure at South Avenue’s CGHS dispensary where he posed as a commoner named Anil Ratadiya and availed treatment at 11:30 in the night also gave him a kind of vigilante appeal among the public. The fact that he not just did the inspection after hours but also took time to write a letter for appreciation to the team and CMO made the entire CGHS fleet feel elated.

One of the first things he did after taking charge as the new Health Minister visited the Serum Insititute’s Pune plant which is supplying the Covishield vaccine all over. He also launched the first commercial dose of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech’s Gujarat plant in August 2021. It was under him that the vaccination drive for youngsters picked up the pace and he made sure that his team was hard at work distributing it, even showing up in January at RML and requesting teenagers personally to ask their friends to come forward and get vaccinated. He visited the Covid war room in Delhi multiple times and also chaired a high-level review committee in June 2022 which dealt with the covid spike in 43 districts across India accompanying the easing of covid restrictions earlier this year.

He also represented India at multiple international stages. In April 2022, he spoke with WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus about the promotion of Ayurveda for wellness worldwide during his visit to New Delhi.  He had the burden of managing many new projects too. He is also overseeing the massive task of digitisation of health records for Indians – a crucial step in the digitisation of all medical services and improving its speed and efficacy. This is another crucial mission that PM Modi had envisaged and is handed over to the health minister to oversee.

In August 2022, during a question hour response, the minister revealed that India now has over 20 crore digital health accounts – i.e over 15% of our population is covered and work is going on to improve this pace. He also said that out of the 1.5 Lakh health centres promised by the NDA govt, 1.22 lakh were already set up and against the WHO recommended ratio of 1 doctor per 1000 patients, India now boasts a doctor per 800 people.

SMEStreet Edit Desk

SMEStreet Edit Desk is a small group of excited and motivated journalists and editors who are committed to building MSME ecosystem through valuable information and knowledge spread.

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