“We remain resolved and committed to ensuring that no woman or child should die from preventable causes. We are guided by the vision of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji to achieve a New India all by 2022”. This was stated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare while inaugurating the “Women for Health and Wellness” special screening and nutrition counselling camp as a part of International Women’s Day Celebrations at Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi today. Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Women & Child Development, and Textiles and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare also graced the inaugural ceremony.Addressing the gathering, which largely comprised of women officers, staff members and women relatives of those working in Nirman Bhawan, Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that instead of just one day dedicated to marking Int’l Women’s Day, the Government, with a sharp focus on enhancing awareness about several women’s issues and provisioning of services, is now celebrating it for a week starting from 1st March. Dr. Harsh Vardhan also said that health and wellbeing of women remain key components of Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana(AB-PMJAY) which provides health coverage up to Rs. 5 lakh per family per year to around identified 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families. Also, the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs), in rural and urban areas have brought services closer to the communities and are expanding and strengthening Reproductive & Child Health (RCH) services and Communicable Diseases services by including services related to Non-Communicable Diseases, mental health, ENT, ophthalmology, oral health, geriatric and palliative health care and trauma care as well as health promotion and wellness activities like Yoga. About 614 lakh women accessed healthcare services at Ayushman Bharat Health & Wellness Centres, accounting for 54% of the total footfalls.
Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that “Women are not only the beneficiaries of the healthcare programmes, but are in fact an important part of the team delivering healthcare services to society. We must recognize the unrelenting and concerted efforts of lakhs of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs), staff nurses and women doctors, and also lakhs of anganwadi workers who form the foundation of our healthcare and wellness network.”Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that while globally the MMR fell by nearly 45%, India recorded an exemplary decline of 78% reduction in maternal deaths over the last two decades. Institutional deliveries in India have risen sharply from 47% in 2007-08 to over 78.9% in 2015-16 (NFHS4) while safe delivery has simultaneously climbed from 52.7% to 81.4% in the same period. With these figures, I am enthused that we shall be able to achieve the herculean target to eradicate Tuberculosis by 2025”.Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Women & Child Development said that the vision of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modiji is to achieve both economic and social growth through women lead development. This is the first time in history of India all the Ministries/Departments are jointly working to achieve this vision as part of the Int’l Women’s Day events. She also said the increasing footfall of women in Health & Wellness Centres is a sign that Ayushman Bharat is a successful model and providing access to the women for getting screened for cervical, breast or oral cancer, along with counselling for various health related matters. The Union Minister stated that with three foundational initiatives such as Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Regulation Bill, 2020; and Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020, we have emerged as global leaders in the arena of reproductive rights of women.Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey highlighted the expanded basket of health services for women’s health through schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA), LaQshya (Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative), Weekly Iron & Folic Acid Scheme (WIFS) and the Saathiya (Peer Educators), Surakshit Matritva Aaswasan (SUMAN) etc. The Government is committed to the holistic health of women through the ‘lifecycle’ approach, providing a range of healthcare and wellness services. Smt. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW), Dr. Dharmendra Singh Gangwar, AS&FA, Dr. Manohar Agnani, JS (RCH), Shri Vikas Sheel, JS (Policy), MoHFW along with other officials of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Ministry of Women and Child Development, along with representatives of development partners, were also present during the event.