In view of the experiences of the Corona era and the lack of quality health services in large parts of the country, this time there may be a special provision in the budget to digitize the health infrastructure. Under this, efforts will be made to increase access to better health services in remote rural areas. The Ministry of Health believes that digital health infrastructure is the biggest need of the present time, which can prove to be an effective weapon in dealing with the current challenges of the health sector in the country. The need for digital health services can be understood from the fact that there is a huge shortage of doctors in the country in proportion to the population.
At present, there is one doctor available in the country for the population of 1447. Whereas according to the standard of the World Health Organization, there should be one doctor for a population of 1000. If we look at the rural areas, then the situation is more dire. Most of the doctors in the country are concentrated in urban areas and efforts so far to deploy them in rural areas have not been successful. The condition is that 65 percent of the population still lives in rural areas. But there is only one doctor available for a population of 25 thousand. The same is the case with hospitals. In such a situation, most of the population has to rely on quacks.

Digital health infrastructure is the only solution
According to highly placed sources in the Health Ministry, the Finance Ministry has been clearly told during the consultation meeting on the budget that digital health infrastructure is the only solution in view of the lack of doctors and health services in the country and their acute shortage in rural areas. The technology to create such digital health infrastructure is present in the country and its pilot project has also been started in many places in the name of tele-digital healthcare.

Through tele digital healthcare, affordable yet quality health services can be provided to a large population with less resource expenditure. Even a person sitting in the village can start his treatment through digital medium by consulting senior doctors sitting in Delhi, Mumbai. For this, necessary equipment and trained youth can be installed in Common Service Center or Gram Panchayats.

The experience of e-Sanjeevani portal is proving to be helpful
The work of connecting all the Gram Panchayats in the country with broadband is already being done on a war footing and through this it has been successful in ensuring the availability of internet, which is essential for the digital health infrastructure. The experience of the e-Sanjeevani portal started during the Corona period can prove to be helpful in this. Thousands of people are taking advice from specialist doctors every day on this portal.
In the budget last year, the Finance Minister had announced the launch of Digital Health Mission. After the pilot project in April, it has also been launched across the country. Under this, the National Health Authority has started keeping the health records of patients in digital form and work is going on to connect hospitals and testing centers across the country. Under the Digital Health Mission, the complete data of the people undergoing treatment and treatment is kept safe under a digital ID. Special provision can be made in the budget to implement it in mission mode in the country.

Can prove to be a game changer for National Health Mission
Due to the vaccination campaign, the data of more than 85 crore people of the country is available with the National Health Authority. This can prove to be a game changer for the National Health Mission. It is expected to get a booster dose in the budget this year. The Modi government has started the tradition of looking at health from a holistic perspective instead of just looking at it from the narrow point of view of hospitals, doctors and treatment.
In this sequence, under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, wellness centers were started across the country. This year’s health budget is expected to see a significant increase to provide universal services to all with the help of Ayushman Bharat, Wellness Centres, Tele-Digital Healthcare and Digital Health Mission. Last year, Nirmala Sitharaman made a provision of 2.38 lakh crore for health in the budget, increasing by 137 percent for the first time. This cycle will continue this time also.

EW Correspondent/New Delhi