India's Union Cabinet of Ministers on February 26 cleared an allocation of Rs 1,600 crores for the nation-wide rollout of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) over a period of five years, according to a press release. A few days later, in a post-budget webinar on the health sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged more private sector involvement to increase health equity and lauded existing technological interventions in health. The ABDM is the Indian government’s multi-tiered, health digitisation project. The National Health Authority, leading the ABDM, has also repeatedly stressed greater public-private partnerships for implementing the project with an open, API-based structure so that private players can build solutions on top of it. Where is private sector involvement needed, according to PM Modi? In the webinar which was attended by nurses, paramedics, doctors, and other technology and research professionals from both the private and public sector, PM Modi identified three areas of the health sector as crucial: "Firstly, expansion of infrastructure and human resources related to modern medical science. Secondly, promotion of research in traditional Indian system of medicine like AYUSH and its active engagement in the healthcare system and thirdly, providing better and affordable healthcare facilities to every person and every part of the country through modern and futuristic technology." — PM Modi Discuss the scope and impact of CoWIN and ABDM: Claiming that CoWIN (India's COVID-19 vaccine management platform) is recognised worldwide, Modi said that the emergence of the ABDM would allow global access to Indian health facilities, improve medical tourism, and…
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