Ayushman Bharat has revolutionised healthcare in India: Dr Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: The ambitious scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat’ launched in 2018 has completely revolutionized primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare system in the country.

Chairing an event to mark Universal Health Coverage Day Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, said on Saturday that COVID19 has greatly magnified the need for building resilient health care systems and ensuring their indiscriminate, equitable access to all.

Dr Harsh Vardhan 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.

The Union Minister said : “We have made remarkable progress in operationalizing Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centers and crossed a major landmark in our journey. With 51,500 centers 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.”

Over 6.89 crore people were screened for Hypertension and more than 5.62 crore people screened for diabetes through the HWCs, the Minister said and added that the HWCs have also conducted over 35 lakh wellness sessions involving activities such as Yoga, Zumba, Shirodhara and Meditation.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said over 1.45 crore cashless treatments were 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.

He saluted the primary health care workers who have been at the forefront of the battle against COVID19 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.

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 5 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.

The Phase II covering the remaining 12 States and 2 UTs had their fieldwork suspended due to COVID-19, which has been resumed from November and is expected to be completed by May, 2021.

Substantial improvement in maternal and child health indicators over NFHS-4 (2015-16) was recorded in the present survey. The fertility rate has further declined, contraceptive use has increased and unmet need has been reduced in most Phase I states.

The survey found considerable improvement in vaccination coverage among children age 12-23 months across all states/UTs. Women’s empowerment indicators (including women with bank account) also portray considerable progress.