Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare chaired the event to mark the third anniversary of the rollout of Ayushman Bharat- Health and Wellness Centre (HWCs) virtually today. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare attended the event through video conference.Dr. Vinod K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog was also present virtually. Also, healthcare workers comprising ASHAs, ANMs and Community Health Officers from more than 6800 AB-HWCs across the country also joined the celebrations through virtual platforms.Expressing his elation at the event, Dr. Harsh Vardhan reminisced the day three years back (in 2018) when Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the first Ayushman Bharat- Health and Wellness Centre at Jangla, Bijapur district, Chhattisgarh. Drawing inspiration from Bharat ratna Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar on his birth anniversary, he said, “These centres are close to his philosophy which continues to inspire us in our efforts to bring human dignity, equity and social justice in the society for providing health care services to all.”Emphesizing the role of HWCs as the spine of healthcare system, the Minister stated “The Prime Minister not only had a vision but led its translation on the ground,” and explained why this step would prove to be crucial in institutionalizing ‘Swasthya’ as a Jan Andolan. In spite of the pandemic, India has operationalized 75,532 HWCs so far and is on track to operationalize 1.5 lakh HWCs by December 2022. Women are spearheading this movement as all Frontline Health Workers, ASHAs and ANMs comprise of women. Proximity to home and individualised care at HWCs has enabled women in large numbers to come forward to get screened, examined and treated at these Centres. As on 13th April 2021, more than 23.8 crores women (53.7%) have accessed care at these centres which saw a footfall of over 44.24 Crores.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan took the occasion to exhort the health officials of the Union Health Ministry and the State/UTs present to undertake visits to the HWCs wherever they go, to view their working first hand and work towards removing their hurdles and shortcomings. He called for competition amongst innovative models to strengthen the movement further by learning from the best practices employed by various States and UTs. He also detailed the achievements of the HWC program so far, “The AB-HWCs has screened 9.82 crore individuals for hypertension and 8.05 crore for diabetes. This is also noteworthy as WHO celebrated World Diabetes Day today to commemorate the discovery of Insulin.” He also stated that screening for three common cancers which include oral cancer (5.08 crore screenings), breast cancer (2.64 crore screenings in women) and cervical cancer (1.79 crore screenings in women) have been done across the country at the centres.Dr. Harsh Vardhan also spoke on the government’s commitment to holistic health of all citizens which is reflected in budgetary allocations for the Health Sector: “The budget outlay for Health and Wellbeing for this year saw an unprecedented increase of 137%, with an allocation of Rs. 2,23,846 crores. This includes a dedicated Rs 35,000 crores for COVID19 vaccine. Pradhan Mantri Aatma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMASBY), with an outlay of about Rs 64,180 crores over the next 5 years will develop capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care Health Systems, strengthen existing national institutions, and create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases. Several of the interventions are intended to support HWCs. PM-ASBY will provide support for 17,788 rural and 11,024 urban Health and Wellness Centres, that will meet the gap in infrastructure shortfalls and enable more decentralized primary health care units in urban areas.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan released operational guidelines for Management of Common Emergencies, Burns and Trauma at Primary Care Level, Operational Guidelines for Palliative Care at HWCs, Operational Guidelines for Elderly Care at HWCs, Poster on 12 services at HWCs and the Rural Health Statistics – 2019-20 (as on March 2020). A HWC Portal, which provides a public interaface to access useful information on the services being provided at the HWCs, was also inaugurated by the Union Minister today.19 States (Punjab, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Assam, Goa, Manipur) and 5 UTs (Puducherry, Chandigarh, D & N Haveli & Daman & Diu, A & N Islands, Lakshadweep) were felicitated for having achieved 100% against the target for year 2020-21.Mizoram, Meghalaya, Rajasthan were felicited for exceptional performance on the conduct of Wellness Activities at AB-HWCs (based on the average number of wellness sessions conducted per AB-HWCs between the period of April, 2020 to February, 2021). Kerala, Telangana, Gujarat were felicitated for showing exceptional performance on the Screening of Non-Communicable Diseases at AB-HWCs (based on the average number of NCD Screening for all five conditions, per AB-HWCs between the period of April, 2020 to February, 2021). Haryana, Tripura and Chhattisgarh were felicitated for showing exceptional performance on adoption of the HWC app by AB-HWCs, till 31st March, 2021.Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Ms. Vandana Gurnani, Additional Secretary & Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM), Sh. Vikas Sheel, Additional Secretary (Policy), Dr. Sunil Kumar, Director General Health Services, Smt. Sandhya Krishnamurthy, DG Statistics along with other senior officials of the Health Ministry, Prinicipal Sectrarys and MDs of National Health Mission of all the States / UTs, CPHC teams from all the States/UTs, Officials from other organizations of MoHFW – FSSAI, DHR, ICMR, and related line ministries such as AYUSH, Youth Affairs and Sports, were present at the event.Dr. Roderico H. Ofrin, WHO Representative to India along with senior officials of WHO and other Development Partners were also present.