Union budget, 2019-20 gives more focus on affordable healthcare for all
Shanthini Arunthavanathan, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Westminster Healthcare, Chennai
The 2019-20 union budget comes as a cheer to many due to the government's attempt of creating a mass -budget this year with special focus on rural health. Ayushman Bharat Scheme that was launched last year for providing medical treatment to around 50 crore people have so far treated 10 lakh people who could save nearly Rs 3,000 crore. This is a great achievement by the country's healthcare and roping in private hospitals to the scheme as proposed by the government last year will certainly provide more teeth to it. However, more allocation of fund for appropriate execution of the scheme was a necessity and was expected. Apart from announcing about 14 new AIIMS since 2014, the announcement regarding setting up of 22nd All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Haryana is a welcome move towards enhancing advanced medical research in India, producing a greater number of qualified medical professionals and expanding opportunities for the aspiring medical students of the country. The government's vision towards having a distress free healthcare and a functional, comprehensive healthcare system by 2030 are praiseworthy. Availability of drugs at a subsidised price at Jan Aushadhi Kendras and implementation of a price cap on drugs have made medicine affordable for all. With five lakh villages being declared open-defecation free along with achievement of over 98% rural sanitation coverage, there will be a certain improvement in both rural and urban health condition.