Our aim is affordable healthcare for all: Modi

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FILE PHOTO: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the inauguration ceremony of the ‘Make In India’ week in Mumbai, India, February 13, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said his government’s aim is to ensure affordable healthcare to every citizen and to achieve this it will open about 1,500 more generic medicine centre across the country.

Speaking to the beneficiaries of government health schemes through ‘video bridge’, Modi termed health the basis of all success and prosperity and acknowledged that expenditure on it was a huge burden to many families.

“…illness not only creates a huge financial burden on families, especially poor and middle class, but also affects our socio economic sectors. Hence, it is the endeavour of the government to ensure affordable healthcare to every citizen,” a government statement quoted Modi as saying.

In his fifth such interaction with the people, Modi said the Central government had opened more than 3,600 Jan Aushadhi Kendras all over the country where more than 700 generic medicines were available at affordable price.

He said the number of these centres will reach over 5,000 in the near future.

A major drain on health budget for poor and middle class families, the cost of stents has been brought down from around Rs 2 lakh to Rs 29,000, along with that of knee transplant, which now costs Rs 70,000 – 80,000 from Rs 2.5 lakh earlier, he said.

“On that account, the reduction in knee transplant prices has saved close to Rs 1,500 crore for public,” the statement read.

On the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Dialysis Programme, Modi said the government had performed more than 22 lakh dialysis sessions for 2.25 lakh patients in more than 500 districts and his Mission Indradhanush had vaccinated 3.15 crore children and 80 lakh pregnant women in 528 districts.

“In order to ensure more beds, more hospitals and more doctors, the government has opened 92 medical colleges and increased MBBS seats by 15,000.”

To make “healthcare affordable and accessible”, he said, the government has launched the Ayushman Bharat scheme, under which 10 crore families will be covered with health insurance of Rs 5 lakh.

The Prime Minister said the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ scheme was playing a central role in creating a healthy India.