NEW DELHI: A parliamentary panel has recommended framing of a ‘NationalPublic Health Act’ that has provisions to keep a “check over private hospitals”, and directed theNational Disaster Management Authorityto “set up a separate wing to handle pandemic-like situations” in the future.
The suggestions are part of a report on ‘Management of Covid-19 pandemic and related issues’ by a standing committee headed by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma.
The proposed Act should have “suitable legal provisions” to deal with private hospitals that are selling beds at exorbitant rates, black marketing of medicines and product standardisation, the report said.
ET has seen a copy of the report.
On vaccine trials and use, the panel said, “No emergency use authorisation has been given in the past by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). If at all emergency authorisation would be given, it should be given by the government with proper consideration and caution and this provision should be used in the rarest of rare cases.”
The committee also proposed detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for international passengers coming to India, including proper screening, testing and quarantine “for timely detection and treatment in case such pandemic break in the future”.
The panel highlighted the disparity between private and public health infrastructure, and asked the central and state governments to make more investment to build better health facilities.
“The public sector healthcare delivery system needs to be further strengthened in all the states and UTs (union territories) and a uniform healthcare system should be established across the country to deal with the pandemic on a sustained basis in future,” the report said. “There should be more investments in health infrastructure for the rapid scaling up of public health services,” the report stated.
The standing panel observed that in the initial phase of pandemic, insurance coverage was not given to many people who suffered from Covid-19. “The private hospitals were charging exorbitantly high rates for the treatment of Covid patients who had to suffer a lot due to lack of any insurance coverage,” it said in the report. “There is a need to have regulatory oversight on all hospitals working in the country to prevent refusal to accept insurance claims. Expanding the healthcare infrastructure to tier 2, 3 and 4 cities and rural areas needs focus.”
For vulnerable sections of the society such as migrant labourers, urban poor, workers engaged in unorganised sector and senior citizens, the panel asked the government to “prepare Aadhaar-linked national database so that in case of such a crisis in future, the government can reach out to them and provide rations and other facilities”.
It observed that primary and pre-primary school children should not be called to classrooms, and may continue online modes till vaccines are made available.
The panel “strongly recommended” amendments into the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act, 1979, Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.