Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare today chaired an event to mark Universal Health Coverage Day. Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare joined the event virtually from Patna.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan started by reminding the audience that COVID19 has greatly magnified the need for building resilient health care systems and ensuring their indiscriminate, equitable access to all. He continued, “We must do away with the status quo that got us here, and settle for nothing less than strong health systems that protect everyone — now and in the future. It has been my long-standing belief that India has the ability to deliver to the world, a robust model for providing Universal Health Coverage.”
Lauding the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi for his conception and implementation of the Ayushman Bharat, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “The over-arching ‘Ayushman Bharat’ program launched in 2018 has completely revolutionized primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare system in the country, with a strong focus on preventive healthcare.”
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 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.It is our aim to establish 1.5 lakh such centers by December 2022. This also includes 12,500 AYUSH Health and Wellness Centers being set up by Ministry of AYUSH.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan took the opportunity to congratulate the States and Union Territories for their efforts in operationalizing Health and Wellness Centers despite the challenges posed by the COVID19 pandemic- a massive 30 crore footfall has been recorded at the 51,500 functional centers till date. More than 6.89 crore people have been screened for Hypertension and more than 5.62 Crore people have been screened for diabetes through the HWCs.The HWCs have also conducted over 35 lakh wellness sessions involving activities such as Yoga, Zumba, Shirodhara, Meditation. He also expressed his elation that the Ministry is collaborating with the States/UTs to identify best practices in the rollout of these HWCs.
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.