Industry gives mix response on health budget

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After finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday presented the interim budget and allocated funds for the healthcare sector, top industry experts gave the mixed response for the sector. While experts lauded the center’s efforts for vaccination for girls, they also highlighted the absence of push for technology in the medical sector.

Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla hailed the government’s announcement and said, “I applaud the announcement to vaccinate girls aged 9-14 against cervical cancer. Let’s pledge to prevent HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and ensure easy access to vaccination. Extending health cover for ASHA and anganwadi workers, setting up more medical colleges and streamlining maternal and child healthcare schemes demonstrate a holistic commitment to health,” he wrote in a post on X.

WHO representative to India Dr Roderico H Ofrin applauded the extension of healthcare coverage.  to them under Ayushman Bharat saying ASHA workers, anganwadi workers and helpers are at the forefront of health and care delivery at the grassroots level.

Dr. Archana Dhawan Bajaj, Head of Nurture IVF, said, “The consolidation of various schemes for maternal and child care under a comprehensive program, including the expedited upgrade of anganwadi centers signals a commitment to improving nutrition, early childhood care, and development”. However, amid these positive aspects, there are some misses for increased funding for enhancing medical technology, promoting genetic research and preventive healthcare measures, she said.

Dr Girdhar Gyaani, founder director, Association of Healthcare Providers (India), said inclusion of ASHA and anganwadi workers and helpers under PM-JAY showcases a holistic and inclusive approach, strengthening the backbone of India’s healthcare system.