New Delhi: Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, said that health is finally being linked with the agenda of development under a holistic approach undertaken by the Union Government. Chairing the eighth meeting of Mission Steering Group (MSG), an apex group under the National Health Mission (NHM), he added that the pandemic period has provided an opportunity to strengthen our healthcare infrastructure and delivery systems.
He emphasised that moving with the philosophy of Antyodaya, the government aspires to provide affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare services to each individual in every corner of the country.
“While we need to understand global healthcare systems and their best practices, India can have its own healthcare model which would be aligned to its regional requirements, and customised to the local strengths and challenges,” Mandaviya stressed.
The MSG was informed about the ‘holistic approach’ adopted by NHM to appropriately modify programme design to respond to changing healthcare needs. This included working with a saturation approach, shifting from an Incremental to a Comprehensive approach (Ayush, Tertiary Care & Expanded package), enhancing self-reliance through diagnostics, drugs amd AI, creating a National Digital Health Ecosystem (NDHE) and future-ready resilient health systems, and shifting from MDGs to SDGs.
Highlighting the achievements under NHM, Dr Mandaviya stated, “Exceeding the target of 1.50 lakh Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWC) by 31 December 2022, more than 1.54 lakh sub-health centres and primary health centres have been transformed as AB-HWCs. In sync with the approach of the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017, AB-HWCs are providing comprehensive primary healthcare closer to the communities. As many as 12 health service packages are available free of charge.”
He further notified the members that more than 135 crore footfall has been witnessed at the HWCs.
The Union Health minister updated the MSG about the progress made under NHM during the past few years: One Lakh AB- HWCs started providing teleconsultation services through the e-Sanjeevani platform, technical specification and draft guidelines of HPV vaccine were approved, 30 Crore ABHA IDs have been created so far and integrated with the NDHE, around 20 Crore AB-PMJAY cards have been created, the Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (PMNDP) was implemented in 630 Districts of 36 States/UTs, tertiary services are gradually being provided in district hospitals as well, over nine lakh TB patients were adopted under the Nikshay Mitra initiative, and the significant impact created by the Jal Jeevan Mission in reducing malaria cases in the last four to five years.
In light of Dr Mandaviya’s address, the MSG decided to implement a saturated and thorough approach that encompasses all aspects of health and has a noteworthy reach and impact on the community. They also deliberated upon increasing focus towards preventive and promotive health approach that advocates for a holistic wellness outlook in the community, and strengthening the national healthcare ecosystem by adopting new technologies to upgrade and strengthen the existing healthcare infrastructure as part of new initiatives under NHM. The dignitaries deliberated on the proposition of each medical college mentoring ten AB-HWCs which would then go on to become models for other AB-HWCs to emulate, to ensure quality comprehensive healthcare services in the primary sector.
The members appreciated the progress made under NHM through focused programmes and support provided to states over the years. Several suggestions were offered including the approach to eliminate diseases like cervical cancer, increasing the number of AB-HWCs under medical colleges, the need for a more detailed analysis of the urban health sector, and enhancing synergy between the Centre and states for timely matching fund allocation from the latter.
Dr Mandaviya noted that the decisions taken by MSG will help in giving impetus to the delivery of healthcare services at all three levels of healthcare – primary, secondary and tertiary. He concluded the meeting by saying that the feedback and suggestions from the meeting would be considered to guide the roadmap on healthcare interventions that need to be implemented.