COVID-19: Centre To Set Up Labs In All Districts At Block Level To Increase Testing Capacity

The Centre plans to increase public expenditure on health and set up infectious diseases blocks in all districts. Health and wellness centres in urban and rural areas will also be increased.

India   |   19 May 2020 4:08 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-05-19T09:48:33+05:30
Writer : Sanjukta Mandal | Editor : Shubhendu Deshmukh | Creatives : Abhishek M
COVID-19: Centre To Set Up Labs In All Districts At Block Level To Increase Testing Capacity

As part of the Centre's efforts to ramp up India's health infrastructure, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday, May 17, announced that public laboratories will be set up at every block to increase testing capacity at the grass-roots.

The move to ramp up the health infrastructure of the country comes amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.

According to government data, there are 7,096 blocks across 736 districts.

"Public expenditure on health will be increased. All districts will have infectious diseases blocks. There will be integrated public health labs in all districts at the block level. Health and wellness centres in urban and rural areas will also be increased," Sitharaman said on Sunday.

The government has also said that the lab and surveillance network will be strengthened. The national digital mission will carry out the plan.

Compared to the major economies, India's spending of 1.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) on healthcare is the lowest. The National Health Policy in 2017 had recommended that the health budget must be increased to 2.5% of GDP by 2025. However, the planning is still under process.

"While the healthcare package has not been defined, we do believe that expanding health and wellness centres, infectious disease blocks and public laboratories will require significant outlay and the private sector looks forward to collaborating with the government in this mission to bring healthcare to the doorsteps of all," Chandrajit Banerjee, director-general, Confederation of Indian Industry was quoted by Live Mint.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the government has announced some major schemes for small businesses, street vendors, farmers and poor migrants.

In India, the confirmed cases have reached 96,196, of which 3,029 have died and 36,824 have recovered.

Also Read: COVID-19: Centre Launches Online Dashboard To Monitor Movement Of Migrant Workers

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