Speaking at an AIMA event, Guleria said there was a need to put healthcare at the centrestage and not consider it only as a service sector. “As far as vaccination is concerned there is still a lot to do and I think there has to be more private-public partnership,” the All India Institute of Medical Sciences director said. There is a need to gradually start opening up in order to cover large number of people, he noted.
“Vaccinating healthcare workers and frontline workers is probably the easy part as far as Phase 1 is concerned as you know who needs to be vaccinated. The number is not that large,” he said.
“Once you start the process to vaccinate 27 crore individuals, in that scenario we must have a robust programme in place where you have the list of people to be vaccinated,” he said, adding, “We need to develop a mechanism where public and private sector actually start rolling out the vaccine at a large scale.”
“I personally feel we have a window of opportunity available now because our cases are down, but this window can change anytime as we have seen in various parts of the world, especially with new variants coming up from different countries,” he said.
He said “healthcare should be looked as the centre which could be easily used to push the economy”, adding the country should not only aspire to become a medical research hub but also the patient care hub for the world.
In an event in Pune, Raman Gangakhedkar, the Dr CG Pandit National Chair at ICMR, said the government is not averse to having a public-private partnership for vaccination, which is currently being considered and discussed. He expressed hope that a decision would be taken quickly and this was extremely important given the vaccine hesitancy we have right now, he said.
PPP models and opening up come with its own threats from fake vaccines, pricing issues and monitoring challenges, he said, adding the government will have to take a call on how to monitor the situation.