Worst phase of Covid appears to be over: Vice President
New Delhi: Referring to the largest vaccination drive in the world against Covid-19 being undertaken in India, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said that the worst phase of the pandemic appears to be over.
However, the Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader cautioned people to remain vigilant and continue to take all the necessary precautions till we defeat the virus decisively.
Naidu’s comments came as 2,09,22,344 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the country to date since the mass drive began on January 16.
The third phase of vaccination began on Monday covering 27 crores of people above 60 and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres.
As of Sunday, the country’s cumulative caseload has increased to 1,12,10,799, while the death toll currently stands at 1,57,756.
While addressing the first Graduation Day ceremony of ESIC Medical College (Faridabad) held at Vigyan Bhavan here in the national capital, the Vice President further said that ‘resilience, research and reinvention’ helped India become a torchbearer in the global fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Applauding the untiring efforts of Indian researchers, scientists and doctors for finding technological solutions to the challenges thrown by the pandemic, Naidu credited their timely and decisive measures for containing the spread of the virus.
“I salute the entire medical fraternity from doctors to nurses, para-medical staff and sanitary workers, technicians and ASHA workers in villages, who, as Team India came together as one to fight the pandemic,” Naidu said
Naidu lauded the Indian industry for ramping up the production of essential items such as PPE kits, surgical gloves, face masks, ventilators and vaccines. He also The Vice President also appreciated the medical and Para Medical institutes being run by ESIC for their role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Expressing concern over the increasing burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) in India, the Vice President cited the data from this year’s Economic Survey, which attributes about 65 per cent of deaths in the country to NCDs.
He called for a concerted effort by all stakeholders to arrest this trend of growing NCDs and suggested to ESIC to consider setting up exclusive NCD clinics in urban areas.
He wanted the young students to visit nearby localities and schools to create awareness about the role of a healthy lifestyle and nutritious food in curbing the incidence of NCDs.
In his address, Naidu also referred to several other health challenges that need to be addressed such as low doctor-patient ratio, shortage of medical colleges, inadequate infrastructure in rural areas, and low adoption of health insurance, among others.
Expressing concern over the high rate of out-of-pocket expenditure on health in India, Naidu called for ensuring quality healthcare for all at affordable rates.
The Vice President praised ESIC for running India’s largest social security program covering roughly 10 per cent of the country’s population. However, he also highlighted the scope for improvement to ensure better customer experience, grievance redress, and improved health outcomes and commended the Ministry of Labour and Employment for initiating major reforms in ESIC to ensure the safety, security and health of every worker.