Disaster-hit areas, disease outbreaks in focus as health ministry announces plan to launch container-based ‘mobile’ hospitals

Equipped with medical facilities that are generally available in a hospital setting, the health ministry has announced plans to launch container-based hospitals that can be transported by air or rail or road. Details here.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: October 26th, 2021

The containers will be transported by air, rail or road within 24 hours in times of emergencies such as cyclones, said Union Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

The Union Health Ministry has announced plans to launch container-based mobile hospitals for a better healthcare response in times of health crises and extending medical facilities to areas reeling under natural disasters. This was announced by the health ministry during a press conference on Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission today on October 26.

A ‘mobile hospital’ will have 22 containers, with a bed strength of 100 in each hospital. The containers will be transported by air, rail or road within 24 hours in times of emergencies such as cyclones and are claimed to be the first-of-its-kind hospitals in South Asia.

“It is for the first time in south Asia that two container trains will be prepared which will have the facilities that are available in a hospital setting. These trains will be kept ready for contingencies,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya posted on Twitter.

Two such container-based hospitals will be deployed in New Delhi and Chennai to cover the emergencies in the northern and southern parts of the country. 

Meanwhile, the health ministry also announced setting up 150,000 health and wellness centres in rural as well as urban areas by 2022 in order to provide a full range of services with tele- consultation. One such health centre will cover the population residing in almost five villages, informed Mandaviya while addressing a press conference. 

“For treatment of diseases like cancer, diabetes and check-up at the primary level, we took a decision to set up 1,50,000 health and wellness centres out of which about 79,000 are already functional in the country,” said Union Health Minister.

“Health and Wellness Centers are being opened in villages and cities, where there will be facilities for early detection of diseases; Rs 90 to 100 crore will be spent in one district in the next 4-5 years,” he added.

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At the district level, 17,788 new rural health and wellness centres in ten high focusing states including Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, West Bengal will be established.

As part of the basic services at health and wellness centres and block public health labs, 134 free diagnostic tests will be made available at district hospitals, 97 at community health centres, 63 at primary health centres, and 14 at a sub-health centre.

Yesterday, on October 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission to ensure robust public health infrastructure in both urban and rural areas, one that is capable of responding to public health emergencies or disease outbreaks. 

A press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stated that its objective was to “fill critical gaps in public health infrastructure, especially in critical care facilities and primary care in both the urban and rural areas.”

The scheme has an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore for over six years till financial year 2025-26.

Also Read: Ahead of UP elections, PM Modi launches Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission at Varanasi rally — details here