1.5 lakh Ayushman Bharat Health & Wellness Centres to be set up by 2022: Economic Survey

Healthwire Bureau

New Delhi, January 31: To promote preventive healthcare, 1.5 lakh Ayushman Bharat Health & Wellness Centres are proposed to be set up by 2022, according to the Economic Survey 2019-20. The Survey was tabled in Parliament on Friday by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

A total of 28,005 such centres have already been set up as on January 14, 2020, it added. “Under Mission Indradhanush, 3.39 crore children and 87.18 lakh pregnant women in 680 districts across the country have been vaccinated,” the Survey noted. New vaccines such as Measles-Rubella (MR), Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, Rotavirus Vaccine and Inactivated Polio Vaccine have also been introduced, it added.

“As per the latest National Health Accounts (NHA) 2016-17, the out of pocket expenditure as a percentage of total health expenditure has declined from 64.2 per cent in 2013-14 to 58.7 per cent in 2016-17,” the Survey said. Primary healthcare accounts for 52.1 per cent of India’s current public expenditure on health as per the National Health Estimates, 2016-17.

The National Health Policy, 2017 recommended to spend at least two thirds of the government’s health expenditure on primary healthcare, it added. “Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), the world’s largest health insurance scheme, is a major step towards providing affordable healthcare to the identified poor,” the Survey said. The scheme has been rolled out based on the deprivation and occupational criteria of the Socio-Economic Caste Census for rural and urban areas, respectively, it added.

In another step, “Under Free Drugs Service initiative, substantial funds have been given to States for provision of free drugs. All States/UTs have notified policy to provide essential drugs free in health facilities,” the Survey said. Free diagnostics service initiative was also launched to address the high out of pocket expenditure (OoPE) on diagnostics and improve quality of healthcare services, it added. In addition, Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadi Pariyojana (PMBJP) and Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (PMNDP) are some of the new initiatives that address the issue of high OoPE on account of drugs and hospital care, the Survey said.

According to the Survey, to address the shortage of doctors, the government has embarked on an ambitious programme for upgradation of district hospitals into medical colleges. In last 5 years, the government has sanctioned 141 new medical colleges. The government has also supported states to add nearly 2.51 lakh additional health human resources, it added. The launch of Ayushman Bharat has marked a paradigm shift in the way healthcare is delivered.

Ayushman Bharat targets universal health coverage by focusing on preventive, promotive and palliative care apart from ambulatory care and by providing protection against catastrophic health expenditure for secondary and tertiary hospital care, the Survey said. “The focus of healthcare is on four important pillars – preventive healthcare, providing affordable healthcare, building medical infrastructure and mission mode interventions for maternal health, child health and to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases,” it added. With the marked increase in burden of non-communicable diseases, the government is focused on addressing this epidemiological transition from communicable diseases to noncommunicable diseases, the Survey said

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