Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said a digital platform used in the Universal Immunisation Programme was being repurposed to digitally track the movement of stocks of COVID-19 vaccines, once available, and also trace those who will receive the shots thus ensuring last-mile vaccine delivery.
Interacting with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) via a video link, he mentioned that under Mission Indradhanush, the government has already ramped up its immunisation capability with an elaborate cold storage chain for inoculating children from 12 diseases.
"The entire eVIN platform is being repurposed as COVIN Network. All movement of stock can be digitally tracked and those receiving vaccines can also be traced after two to three weeks if the vaccine requires two shots. This will ensure last-mile vaccine delivery," Mr Vardhan was quoted as saying in a statement.
He also highlighted India's tryst with the coronavirus pandemic as evidence of cooperation between the public and private sectors.
"Our nation has now become one of the largest manufacturers of personal protective equipment kits. We used to send samples to CDC Atlanta for testing a few years back while we now have private testing labs contributing to the total testing capacity of the country," the minister said.
Mr Vardhan also expressed his admiration for the COVID warriors, especially their mothers who did not desist their children from performing their duty knowing the health risk posed in carrying them out, the statement said.
The Indian healthcare industry is one of India's largest sector in terms of revenue and provision of employment. With its market projected to increase three-fold to Rs 8.6 trillion by 2022, it is necessary that steps be taken that will allow stakeholders to converge within the industry, the health minister said.
"The need to provide healthcare which is accessible and affordable, now more than ever, becomes a necessity especially due to the effects that COVID has had on our entire system," he stressed.
About the achievements of the Health Ministry in utilizing IT in not only fighting COVID-19 but also providing non-COVID essential healthcare in the country, Mr Vardhan said, "We need to maximise the potential that technology has provided us and leverage this in our fight towards healthcare for all."
"Telemedicine has come to the fore and has provided us with a solution for last-mile connectivity. Today, the eSanjeevani teleconsultation service has completed 8 lakh consultations."
Borrowing from his own experience in the campaign against Polio, he reminded everyone that organizations such as the CII, Delhi Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club had come forward to bear the expenses and made it a huge success.
"We need to move towards helping organizations and industries understand the true importance of a robust healthcare ecosystem. This is to be done while ensuring a close oversight of both organic growth initiatives and other non-traditional healthcare models," Mr Vardhan observed.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)