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Centre To Strengthen Public Healthcare By Increasing Ayushman Bharat Centres To 1.5 Lakh By 2022

Before hitting the December 2022 target, the government aims to increase the number of Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) by 70,000 by the end of the 2021

Centre To Strengthen Public Healthcare By Increasing Ayushman Bharat Centres To 1.5 Lakh By 2022
  • Ayushman Bharat HWCs are to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare
  • Union Health Secretary made the announcement at an international webinar
  • Under HWCs, 12 healthcare services in a package are delivered to community

Thiruvananthapuram: The Central government plans to bolster the public healthcare system across the country by increasing the number of Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) from the current 60,000 to 1,50,000 by December 2022, Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Wednesday (February 17). Mr Bhushan said his ministry is also creating a new cadre of Community Health Officers (CHOs), which is basically populated by BSc nursing professionals. There are other professionals also who will be manning this cadre to operationalise the HWCs.

Also Read: Union Budget 2021 Explained: Decoding The 137 Per Cent Increase In Health Expenditure

They are the team leaders and, in close contact with the local self-government like Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies, will be ensuring that 12 healthcare services in a package are delivered to the community, he said.

He revealed this while delivering the keynote address at an international health webinar series, titled ‘Kerala Health: Making the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) a Reality’, which is organised by the state’s Department of Health and Family Welfare.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the five-event webinar series, which is staggered over five days across this month and early March, with each event dealing with a health issue that is particularly relevant for Kerala. Kerala Health and Family Welfare Minister K K Shailaja delivered the presidential address.

Describing HWC as a significant governance reform that takes public healthcare closer to the community, he said the government has set the target of increasing the number of HWCs by 70,000 by the end of the current financial year before hitting the December 2022 target.

Also Read: India’s COVID-19 ‘Human Barricade’ To Keep Cases Under Control, Say Experts

India’s Public Healthcare Centres (PHC) reform efforts started roughly two and a half years ago with the announcement of Ayushman Bharat HWCs, which are designated to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare and has now gained momentum. The public healthcare system has played a robust role in progressing towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and that is eventually the target of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, he said.

While heaping praise on Kerala for making remarkable strides in meeting the quality of life indicators of its citizens, he also listed the emerging challenges that are unique to the state.

Kerala also stands at crossroads of public healthcare delivery. It is now grappling with higher morbidity rate as compared to other states, a greater burden on healthcare facilities because of the demographic transition in the state and also because of the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), Mr Bhushan pointed out.

How the state responds to these challenges will determine its success in achieving the SDGs, particularly the SDG 3 that relates to health and associated goals, the Health Secretary said.

Also Read: Centre Aims To Provide Adequate Health, Education To Every Child By 2022: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Kerala has 842 HWCs operational to provide services closer to the public. The state has led the way in rolling most of these 12 service packages such as reproductive healthcare, child and maternal health care, cleaning, NCDs, mental health, and care for the elderly or geriatric care, which is extremely significant in the context of the state, he stressed.

Kerala is witnessing epidemiological and demographic transition, particularly the challenges relating to chronic diseases that can be addressed through these HWCs, he said, adding that the focus on well-being is critical. Roughly one-fifth of both men and women in Kerala have blood sugar levels higher than the cut off range of 140 mg with 24.8 per cent women and 27 per cent men having very high levels or reported to be under treatment. Blood pressure levels are higher than the cut off in 22 per cent of women and 25.9 per cent men. Further, adult nutrition data shows a considerable increase in obese people – from 32 per cent to 38 per cent for women and from 28.5 per cent to 36 per cent for men. Also, among men, 16 per cent and 19 per cent reported tobacco and alcohol use, respectively.

Also Read: Economic Survey 2020-21 Says Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana Has Led To Better Health Outcomes

Health and Wellness Centres, besides the Kudumbashree network, must be utilized effectively for treatment adherence and early detection for early treatment. The state’s effective leveraging of local self-governments for health activities should now be used as a platform for promoting well-being.

“The state government does have detailed granular plans for tackling the issues such as PHCs, COVID pandemic, TB, NCDs and mother and child care,” he said and hoped that the webinar would lay the groundwork for achieving the SDGs in Kerala and also provide learning for the rest of the country.

Also Read: Economic Survey: Initiatives Like Swachh Bharat Mission Have Improved Access To ‘Bare Necessities’ In The Country

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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