Address by Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, Honourable Vice President at the 2nd International Symposium on Health Technology Assessment, in New Delhi on March 10, 2023.

New Delhi | March 10, 2023

Extremely delighted to associate with 2nd International Symposium on Health Technology Assessment – ISHTA-2023.
A conglomerate of eminent Health researchers, Medical academia, Policy makers, Social scientists, Industry stakeholders are participating in this.

Your mission in ISHTA is ensuring Availability, Affordability and Accessibility of quality healthcare to all.

Keeping in view this affordability, our Prime Minister came out with Ayushman Bharat - the world's largest, highly transparent and impactful mechanism. This is benefitting 1.4 billion people in this country effectively and this affordability of rates has generated an evolution of a system that is not pyramidical but benefitting all. Because of Ayushman Bharat, we have in the country - paramedical centers, diagnostic centers, and the growth of medical colleges, nursing colleges and clinics. This touches the lives of those who are fiscally vulnerable. If they have to suffer on account of their affordability, then the growth of their children suffers. The family economy goes haywire. 

Technology is a game changer, a turning point. In 1989, when I became a Union Minister, 2 years prior to that, my father suffered a heart attack. I had a tough time trying to secure an angiogram. It was available selectively only in two cities and I had to take him for treatment outside the country to the UK. And now all these facilities are available in this country at the divisional level and of the highest quality. Technology is really a game changer towards good health and happiness.

To secure accessibility, we now have health care centers even in villages. And this is a milestone achievement. 

This International Symposium on Health Technology Assessment is assessment oriented. I’m sure, it will go a long way in securing a world order of health and happiness.

Campaigns like Swachh Bharat Mission have changed the landscape of Bharat. Every house now has a toilet. What we never thought or imagined, now we are on our way to getting fresh potable water in all homes. Industrial growth, start-ups and entrepreneurship has grown, and this is generating mass movement for securing health and happiness for the people at large.

India’s handling of COVID-19 exemplifies the best practices beyond doubt. The Janta curfew was an innovative and imaginative idea that was implemented very successfully. The whole country came together to cheer the COVID warriors because they were those who were prepared to lay down their lives to save the lives of the people at large. We lit lamps to honour them. 

When I went abroad, it was satisfying for me to note that the world recognises that India could innovatively produce vaccines; India could vaccinate 220 cr people and put it on digital mapping. It was also giving assistance to other countries through the Maitri vaccine initiative and that is something reflective of our age-old ethos.

Over 1.5 lakh health and wellness centers have been established across the country. This is generating huge opportunities for entrepreneurs and skilled human resources. This is turning out to be a game changer for economic growth. 

Over 33.8 crore Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts have been created under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission and 50 crore beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

Affordability of medicine to an ordinary man is of critical consequence. This has been done through over 9000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras setup across the country to enhance access to generic medicines.

A minimum saving of Rs. 200 crore per annum to cancer patients due to price control of anti-cancer drugs. This has been done due to proactive and affirmative steps taken by the Hon'ble Health Minister.

India is an example in the world, where we are making use of technology to provide efficient services to people. Earlier there used to be long queues to deal with your payment of bills. In the health sector, a revolution has been done and over 8 crore tele-consultations have been conducted through e-Sanjeevani, the National Telemedicine Service of India.

Tuberculosis was a sure killer in the 50s and 60s. But now when a patient goes and tells that he or she has tuberculosis, he or she will be given a nine-month kit. This is a qualitative jump.

The number of seats in graduate and postgraduate medical colleges has been doubled. 

If India is on the rise at the moment as never before, this is on two great concepts. That has been highlighted by our PM - we are not in the era of expansionism and he indicated to the world at large that war is not a solution to any problem.

I would urge all stakeholders, WHO and leaders, if we have to make this world healthy and happy, we have to subscribe to an ecosystem, and our county has evolved this ecosystem over thousands of years -  that is ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbukam’.

Certain things are created by us ourselves - like mental disorders, stressful working conditions, and tension all around in the workplace; we are in competitive mode throughout. Let us think about these problems and work to reduce the tension among people and bring down stress levels.