India has operationalised over 75,500 Ayushman Bharat-Health & Wellness Centres so far: Govt

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STATE TIMES NEWS
New Delhi: India has operationalised 75,532 Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres so far despite the COVID-19 pandemic and is on track to functionalise 1.5 lakh HWCs by December 2022, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Wednesday.
Vardhan, who chaired an event virtually to mark the third anniversary of the rollout of Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWC), said that as on April 13, over 23.8 crore women (53.7 per cent) have accessed care at these centres, which saw a footfall of over 44.24 crore, a health ministry statement said.
The minister exhorted health officials of the Union Health Ministry and states and union territories present to undertake visits to the HWCs wherever they go, to view their working first-hand and work towards removing their hurdles and shortcomings, it stated.
Vardhan also reminisced the day three years back (in 2018) when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first such Health and Wellness Centre at Jangla, Bijapur district, Chhattisgarh.
Drawing inspiration from BR Ambedkar on his birth anniversary, he said, “These centres are close to his (Ambedkar) philosophy, which continues to inspire us in our efforts to bring human dignity, equity and social justice in the society for providing healthcare services to all.”
Emphasising the role of HWCs as the spine of the healthcare system, he said that “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 institutionalising ‘swasthya’ (health) as a Jan Andolan.
“In spite of the pandemic, India has operationalised 75,532 HWCs so far and is on track to operationalise 1.5 lakh HWCs by December 2022. Women are spearheading this movement as all frontline health workers, ASHAs and ANMs comprise 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 per cent) have accessed care at these centres, which saw a footfall of over 44.24 crore,” Vardhan said.
He called for competition amongst innovative models to strengthen the movement further by learning from the best practices employed by various states and UTs.
The Union minister also detailed the achievements of the HWC programme so far.
“The AB-HWCs has screened 9.82 crore individuals for hypertension and 8.05 crore for diabetes. This is also noteworthy as the WHO celebrated World Diabetes Day today to commemorate the discovery of Insulin,” he said.
Vardhan 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 these centres, the statement said.
He also spoke on the government’s commitment to holistic health of all citizens, which is reflected in budgetary allocations for the health sector.
Vardhan also 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 interface to access useful information on the services being provided at the HWCs, was also inaugurated by the Union Minister today.
Nine 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 — were felicitated for achieving 100 per cent against the target for year 2020-21, the statement said.