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Aim: The main purpose of this paper is to look at the Indian healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic and how COVID-19 acts as barrier and also presents some opportunities towards the road of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Background: COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerability of health systems across the world and India is no exception. The World Health Organization (WHO) has kept the definition of UHC very flexible and has left on the country which is implementing it as to how much of the population and which services should be included in the scheme.
Discussion: India already has a unique flagship program Ayushman Bharat where it is trying to cover her most vulnerable population against catastrophic expenditure of health. This paper further investigates the progress of India towards UHC and how COVID-19 is acting as an impediment for India to progress towards it. On the other hand, it also poses some opportunities which had not been explored in the past. Health Systems Strengthening is the path towards the achievement of UHC and due to COVID-19, India has touched upon all the six building blocks which are needed to strengthen our system towards the achievement of UHC.
Recommendations and Conclusion: It recommends that Indian system should be more proactive than reactive; it also suggests following a systems-based approach and to not target the problem in silos. It also suggests increasing the government funding as well as establishment of proper public health cadre. To conclude, this paper also suggests that the government should include outpatient expenses into their scheme, and they should also concentrate towards building adequate infrastructure in order to face future pandemics like COVID-19.
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