The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said that nobody will be deprived of the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination in the absence of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) ID.
The NDHM was announced on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day of India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The vision of NDHM is to create a national digital health ecosystem that enables timely and efficient access to inclusive, affordable, and safe healthcare to all citizens. NDHM will significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health services in India.
"The NDHM as it exists today does not make digital IDs mandatory to receive services that NDHM has created. So, therefore to say that it would become mandatory for vaccination is probably not the right interpretation," Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan while responding to a question during a press conference.
"Health IDs will be utilised in those cases where an individual beneficiary does not have a health ID. There are multiple other IDs, which can be utilised as in the case of present NDHM. It would be like an electoral scenario where multiple IDs will be prescribed so that no one would be deprived of benefits of either voting on the day of election or vaccination on the designated day," he added.
Commenting upon the data privacy and security issued of NDHM, Bhushan said, "There is a bill pending in the parliament which addresses this issue. Till the bill is passed, NDHM has a data policy, which has been in the public domain for more than the last month. We have received more than 7,000 comments on the data management policy of NDHM which ensures both individual data privacy as well as data security. Based on the comments, we would be refining our policies."
On Independence Day in 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that every Indian will get an Aadhaar-like health ID card that will record details of every visit to a doctor or a pharmacy. This process of digitising the patient landscape has been in the works since 2018.
The National Health Authority (NHA), the central agency implementing the health coverage scheme, Ayushman Bharat, has drafted the Health Data Management Policy of the NDHM.
( With inputs from ANI )
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