Rs 23,220 crore more to be spent on public health with focus on children: Sitharaman
New Delhi, June 28: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that government will spend an additional Rs 23,220 crore in a renewed push for India's public healthcare sector with a focus on children.
The new scheme will have a special focus on children, paediatric care and paediatric beds, Sitharaman said while announcing the stimulus package for the economy hit by the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement comes at a time when there is growing concern that the future wave of COVID-19 pandemic can affect children. However, there appears to be no substantial evidence to suggest that children will be more affected or have greater illness severity due to COVID-19 in the anticipated third wave.
Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi, Dr. Randeep Guleria has also dismissed claim that third wave will hit children hard.
"It is a piece of misinformation that subsequent waves of the COVID-19 pandemic are going to cause severe illness in children. There is no data - either from India or globally - to show that children will be seriously infected in subsequent waves," he said.
Dr. Guleria cited that 60% to 70% of the children who got infected and got admitted in hospitals during the second wave in India, had either comorbidities or low immunity; healthy children recovered with mild illness without need for hospitalization.