Investment in Primary HealthCare in India: A Wise Step by the Indian Government


The Covid-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in our improving healthcare systems. It showed us the critical need for a strong and adaptable health system. We learned that when health systems struggle, it affects governments, decision-makers, and communities. This highlighted the importance of enhancing primary healthcare, not only to ease pressure on hospitals but also to act as a gatekeeper, preventing overwhelming tertiary care facilities.

The disruption caused by the pandemic emphasized the urgency to revitalize primary healthcare services. Investing in these services can bring quality healthcare closer to vulnerable communities, reducing their out-of-pocket expenses. A strong primary healthcare system is crucial for facing any future challenges, as the pandemic has made clear.

Recognizing the shortcomings, the Indian government focused on strengthening healthcare infrastructure and rapid vaccination against Covid-19. Financial support was allocated to states through schemes like the Covid-19 Emergency Response Package (ECRP), the 15th Finance Commission (FC-XV), and the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM).

These efforts include developing dedicated Covid hospitals, enhancing surveillance systems, and boosting laboratory capacities. The ECRP was extended during the second wave of the pandemic, strengthening hospitals, laboratory surveillance, and IT interventions for vaccination. It also emphasized teleconsultation platforms, prefabricated units for primary care, and ambulatory services.

Schemes like FC-XV and PM-ABHIM aim to upgrade rural and urban healthcare infrastructure, with a focus on primary health centers and wellness centers. They also prioritize diagnostic and laboratory services. These comprehensive initiatives will lead to reduced healthcare expenses, a resilient health system, and universal health coverage, aligning with India’s goal for a healthier future.