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Union Health Ministry celebrates Universal Healthcare Coverage Day

Health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan launches apps and guidelines to monitor health programmes

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare recently chaired an event to mark Universal Health Coverage Day. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare joined the event virtually from Patna.

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The minister noted that through the two wings of Ayushman Bharat, the Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY), the government has been making quality healthcare affordable and accessible for crores of people in the country. He stated, “We have made remarkable progress in operationalising Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centers and crossed a major landmark in our journey. With 51,500 centres now functional, more than 1/3 of the target has been met. This has led to improved access to affordable primary healthcare services for more than 25 crore people. It is our aim to establish 1.5 lakh such centres by December 2022. This also includes 12,500 AYUSH Health and Wellness Centers being set up by Ministry of AYUSH.”

The Union Health Minister appreciated that more than 1.45 crore cashless treatments have been provided to the poorest citizens under AB-PMJAY and recognized the programme as a huge source of support and security for millions of families reeling under the extreme stress of serious illness.

Dr Vardhan launched some apps and guidelines for implementing and monitoring various health programmes on the occasion:

  • The SDG-3 Health Dashboard would enable policymakers and programme implementers, to identify key priorities areas that require action and in framing future action plan for achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
  • A compendium of health and wellness centres operationalisation which provides an overview of the progress and achievement over the last two years in operationalising health and wellness centres across the country under the Ayushman Bharat programme.
  • A detailed set of guidelines for Comprehensive Primary Health Care Services for Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT), Eye, Mental Neurological Substance-use (MNS) disorder as well as Jan Aarogya Samiti (JAS) Guidelines. These have been formulated to support the States and UTs to achieve the mandate of providing an expanded range of services at functional Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centers
  • An e-Booklet on key information of ICT interventions by National Health Mission detailing IT initiatives taken up under the National Health Mission. This will serve as a ready reference compendium for all the stakeholders.
  • The NCD Medical Officer App will ensure that the missing links in the follow up of patients suffering from non-communicable diseases can be established in a more effective way.

Dr Vardhan saluted the primary healthcare workers who have been at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 for rising to this unprecedented challenge and for continuing to serve the society selflessly. He virtually felicitated 1153 primary healthcare workers who have been nominated by the state for their exemplary service.

Dr Vardhan released the 5th National Family Health Survey (NFHS) which contains detailed information on population, health, and nutrition for India and its States and Union Territories. This is a globally important data source as it is comparable to Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) Programme of 90 other countries on several key indicators and can be used for cross country comparisons and development indices. 

The present NFHS is being conducted on 6.1 lakh sample households, involving household level interviews to collect information on population, health, family planning and nutrition-related indicators. The results of 17 States and five UTs (Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, Mizoram, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu) have been released now as Phase-I. Phase II covering the remaining 12 States and two UTs had their fieldwork suspended due to COVID-19, which has been resumed from November and is expected to be completed by May 2021.

Dr Roderico Orfin, WHO representative was also present in the event along with senior WHO officials. Other development partners like USAID who are helping in the rollout of the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre were also present.

Vandana Gurnani, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, NHM, Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary, Vishal Chouhan, Joint Secretary, Ratna Anjan Jena, DG Statistics and other senior officials of the ministry were present. Senior government officials serving the various states and UTs joined digitally.

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