June 5, 2023

Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said, “India’s response has been preemptive, graded and proactive. I don’t think we could have done it any other way.” “

first time in six months since the Covid-19 Pandemic, Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan has spoken to News18 about how in the country Crisis has been faced from. The top-ranking bureaucrat is retiring on 31 July. Sudan says that she has done all that she could with her team and which could not be done differently from her.

What has been your greatest learning during the six months of the epidemic? Could you have done anything differently to handle it?
India’s response has been preemptive, graded and proactive. I don’t think we could have done it any other way. Neither the world nor I still know too much about viruses. But we have responded very well. The entire nation came together with a clear call from the Prime Minister. The way we reacted, the way the public health system reacted, the way states came together is a lesson not only for us but for the whole world. Everyone faced the challenge in a federal structure.
The top leadership inspired us in a way in which the response was quick and that brought everyone together. Officers came together, we had 11 strong groups, the number of meetings we held, the way our team worked in the ministries, the way states responded, NCDC, ICMR, ICMR, DHR, all Worked together. In the last six months, the members of my team in the Ministry of Health did not get a single break. Even when they go home, they are dealing with questions, emergencies. The response has been remarkable. Our doctors have responded with excellent coordination by our nurses, our front-line workers. Everyone has acted with the feeling that we are doing this for ourselves, we are doing this for the country, and it should be so. And I don’t think we could have done it any differently.

Please tell us how ‘self-reliant’ India has become in the last six months. And what about the uniform distribution of the vaccine? How can this be ensured?
We were a nation in Pune with only one lab. Now there are 1,300 labs in our country. In the last two days we were testing more than 5 lakh samples. We have tested 1.68 million people. Not only this, we were not manufacturing PPE, N95 masks or ventilators. I think this is a proof of our self-reliance and our ‘self-reliance’ initiative.

Also, I would say that the way the public health system has spread on this occasion, we have expanded our facilities to take patients like that, the way beds are made – now we have 15 lakhs in three types There are more beds. We are answering together with the facilities that we have built across the country. Our labs, our surveillance systems, our emergency units have done excellent work, it shows that we can progress on this occasion and become self-sufficient.