The Union cabinet has approved a Rs 23,123-crore package for improving health infrastructure to fight COVID-19 as part of which around 2.4 lakh medical beds and 20,000 ICU ones would be created with a special focus on paediatric care.
Addressing a press conference after the first meeting of the Union cabinet following its reshuffle on Wednesday, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the package will be implemented over the next nine months till March 2022.
The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mandaviya said this is the second phase of the Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package as the Central government had given Rs 15,000 crore earlier for setting up Covid-dedicated hospitals and health centres across the country.
Under the new package, the Centre would provide Rs 15,000 crore and states Rs 8,123 crore, and the plan would be implemented jointly by them across all the 736 districts to improve medical infrastructure at primary and district health centres.
Around 2.4 lakh normal medical beds and 20,000 ICU beds would be created of which 20 percent would be specially earmarked for children, he said.
The minister said storage facilities for oxygen and medicines would also be created at district level under the plan.
An official statement said states and UTs would be supported to create paediatric units in all 736 districts and to establish Paediatric Centre of Excellence in each state and UT (either in medical colleges, state government hospitals or central hospitals such as AIIMS, INIs, etc) for providing tele-ICU services, mentoring and technical hand-holding to the district paediatric units.
They would be supported to augment 20,000 ICU beds in public healthcare system out of which 20 per cent will be pediatric ICU beds, it said.
The Phase-II of the package has central sector and centrally-sponsored schemes components.