Noting that access to medicines is a "big concern" for the poor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said his government is committed to decreasing the financial burden and ensuring affordable healthcare for every Indian.
He stressed on the need to make health a mass movement through public participation.
Interacting with beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojna (PMBJP) and affordable cardiac stents and knee implants through video bridge, Modi said his government is working to provide more beds, hospitals and doctors and has taken one step after another to bring down treatment cost for the poor.
"We have to make efforts to make public health a mass movement through public participation," he said during his fifth such interaction in the series with various beneficiaries of government schemes.
The prime minister noted that illness not only creates a huge financial burden on families, especially the poor and middle class, but also affects the socio-economic sector. "It is the endeavour of the government to ensure affordable healthcare to every citizen," he said.
Observing that the PMBJP was launched with the intention to make the poor, lower middle class and middle class get access to affordable medicines and reduce their financial burden, Modi said more than 3,600 Jan Aushadhi Kendras have been opened all over the country, where over 700 generic medicines are available at affordable price.
"The cost of medicines at Jan Aushadhi Kendras is 50-90 per cent less than the market price. The number of Jan Aushadhi Kendras will reach over 5,000 in the near future," he said.
On the government's ambitious Ayushman Bharat programme, he said under it, around 10 crore families, that is around 50 crore people, will be given health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh.
"The first phase of this yojna has been initiated and soon people across the country will get benefited by it," he said.
As people living in small villages or towns find it difficult to go to a hospital or health centre that is very far away, the government has decided to open around 1.5 lakh health centres across the country under Ayushman Bharat, Modi said.
Apart from medicines, diagnostics facilities will also be available there, he said.
"In the last four years, our government has taken one step after the other so that the cost incurred by the poor for treatment can come down.
"I can say with satisfaction that we have chosen the right direction, taken the right path, made the right policies and they are now reaching the grass roots level…We have worked in mission mode," he said.
Modi said access to medicines is a big concern for the poor and the government's constant endeavour is to "ensure affordable healthcare to every Indian".
Several people are benefiting from the PMBJP, he said.
He also noted that the government has reduced stent prices substantially, benefiting the poor and the middle class the most.
Earlier, people had to sell or mortgage property to purchase stents, Modi said, adding that the cost of heart stents has reduced from around Rs 2 lakh to Rs 29000.
Although knee-related issues are common, the prime minister said their treatment was not common earlier as those who had the money could ensure treatment.
The government has reduced knee transplant prices by 60-70 per cent, thereby bringing down the cost from Rs 2.5 lakh to around Rs 70,000?80,000, he said.
"It is estimated that around 1 to 1.5 lakh knee operations happen in India every year. On that account, the reduction in knee transplant prices has saved close to Rs 1,500 crore for public," he said.
The prime minister noted that the cost of dialysis too was high and it was available in selected cities and keeping that in mind, the PM Rashtriya Dialysis Yojna was started through which the government has performed more than 22 lakh dialysis sessions for 2.25 lakh patients in more than 500 districts.
He said that more than 90 medical colleges have been opened which has led to an increase of 15,000 MBBS seats.
"India would become great and healthy only when its 125 crore citizens are healthy," the prime minister said while stressing his government aims to eradicate tuberculosis from India by 2025, five years ahead of a globally set deadline.
"The world has decided that by 2030, TB will be eradicated. We in India decided why wait for 2030. That is why we have made a programme to eradicate it five years ahead of the global deadline," he said.
Modi said that the government has also started a huge campaign for immunisation and more than 3.15 crore children and 80 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated in 528 districts through Mission Indradhanush.
"Our target is that till 2020, all those children are immunised who have not been immunised or have been partially immunised, so that they can be saved from 12 different diseases," he said.