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NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission that aims to strengthen critical healthcare network across the country over the next four-five years. The prime minister also launched various development projects worth around 5200 crore for Varanasi.

“In post-independent India, health infrastructure did not get the required attention for a very long time and citizens had to run from pillar to post for proper treatment, leading to worsening of the condition and financial strain. This led to a persistent worry about medical treatment in the hearts of the middle class and poor people. Those whose governments remained in the country for a long time, instead of the all-around development of the country's healthcare system, kept it deprived of facilities," said Modi adding that Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission aims to tackle this deficiency. "The aim is to strengthen the critical healthcare network from village to block to the district to the regional and national level in the next 4-5 years," said Modi.

The Prime Minister said that there are three major aspects of the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission to address the different gaps in the health sector of the country. The first is related to the creation of elaborate facilities for diagnostics and treatment. Under this, health and wellness cnters are being opened in villages and cities, where there will be facilities for early detection of diseases. Facilities like free medical consultation, free tests, free medicine will be available in these centres. For serious illness, 35,000 new critical care-related beds are being added in 600 districts and referral facilities will be given in 125 districts, said Modi.

The second aspect of the scheme is related to the testing network for the diagnosis of diseases. Under this mission, the necessary infrastructure will be developed for the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases. 730 districts of the country will get integrated public health labs and 3,000 blocks will get block public health units. Apart from that, five Regional National Centers for Disease Control, 20 metropolitan units, and 15 BSL labs will further strengthen this network, said the Prime Minister.

The third aspect s the expansion of existing research institutions that study pandemics. Existing 80 viral diagnostic and research labs will be strengthened, 15 iosafety level labs will be operationalized, four new National Institutes of Virology and a National Institute for One Health are being established.

The World Health Organization regional research platform for South Asia will also strengthen this network. “This means, through Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission an entire ecosystem for services from treatment to critical research will be created in every corner of the country," said the Prime Minister.

In a separate event on Monday, Modi inaugurated nine medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh. These nine medical colleges are in the districts of Siddharthnagar, Etah, Hardoi, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Deoria, Ghazipur, Mirzapur and Jaunpur.

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