NEW DELHI :
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) gave an additional $3 million (around ₹22.5 crore) to India to help in its war against the covid-19 pandemic, as the number of coronavirus cases in India on Thursday ballooned to 34,976 and the toll reached 1,137.
The money will help more than 20,000 health facilities under the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana AB-PMJAY, the health insurance scheme for 500 million poor and vulnerable people.
The financial support will help the National Health Authority (NHA), the nodal agency for implementing AB-PMJAY, in establishing a financing facility that can mobilize resources from the private sector for health facilities enrolled under the scheme through Partnerships for Affordable Healthcare Access and Longevity (PAHAL) project, a financing platform of IPE Global, an international development consultancy.
PAHAL aims to promote health financing models and provide catalytic support to social enterprises for improving access to affordable and quality healthcare solutions for the urban poor.
The innovations selected for funding under the Blending Finance Facility will be promoted in the Ayushman Bharat facilities. Further, investment will also go into building infrastructure of Ayushman Bharat public and private healthcare facilities.
“This additional funding to support India in its continuing efforts to combat covid-19 is yet another example of the strong and enduring partnership between the United States and India," US ambassador to India Kenneth I. Juster said.
The government recently decided to bring testing and treatment of covid-19 under AB-PMJAY scheme as well. “We are ensuring that our empanelled hospitals continue to provide critical non-covid services in addition to supporting treatment and testing for covid-19," Indu Bhushan, CEO of AB-PMJAY and NHA, said.
Including the $3 million, USAID has provided $5.9 million to assist India in responding to the covid-19 outbreak. “This assistance will help India slow the spread of covid-19, provide care for the affected, disseminate essential public health messages to communities, and strengthen case finding and surveillance," USAID said in a statement.
While covid-19 cases continue to rise at a linear trajectory in India, at least 8,324 people have recovered as well. “This takes our total recovery rate to 25.19%. Analysing the deaths so far, it is observed that the case fatality rate is 3.2%, of which 65% are male and 35% are female," said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the Union health ministry.
The government found that of the total number of active cases, those under 45 years make up 14%, the 45-60 years age group makes up 34.8%, 60-75 years 42% and above 75 years 9.2%.
Those with comorbidities account for 78%, and there’s been a 51.2% fall in the number of patients over 60 years.
“Analysis of doubling rate across the country has revealed that the national average is 11 days presently vis-a-vis 3.4 days before lockdown," said Agarwal.
Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Punjab have a doubling rate of between 11 and 20 days. For Karnataka, Ladakh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Kerala this is 20-40 days. Assam, Telangana, Chattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh have a doubling rate of more than 40 days.
As the government plans to ease the lockdown from 4 May onwards, public health experts said the exit plan should be carefully drawn, considering the red, orange and green zones. Green zones are areas that haven’t had covid-19 cases for the last 28 days, while orange zones are those that haven’t reported cases for 14 days. “The exit plan has to account for containment, isolation and careful handling of red zones and ensuring a quick normalcy in the green zone, while monitoring closely the orange zone. We can’t treat all districts as the same as it will do irreparable damage," said Meena Ganesh, MD and CEO of healthcare firm Portea Medical.