On marking the second anniversary of the launch of the Ayushman Bharat on April 14, 2020, the government plans to extend its service packages to elderly and palliative health care, emergency medical services and oral health care, said Vikas Sheel, Joint Secretary (Policy), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
New Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs) are also expected to be functional by the end of March 2020 forming an approximate 40,000 centres, said the official.
Until now, seven service packages including child health, immunisation, communicable and non-communicable diseases are being provided at the AB-HWCs.
The range of services to be expanded includes screening for mental health ailments, care for common ophthalmic and ENT problems and emergency medical services including burns and trauma, says Sheel.
“As on date, 30,690 AB-HWCs are functional across the country. By the end of March 2020, approximately 40,000 AB-HWCs will be functional,” he said.
The government aims to create 1. 5 lakh AB-HWCs by 2022 across the country by transforming existing sub-centres and Primary Health Centres (PHCs), says the officials.
Additionally, the government plans to roll out ‘Eat Right’ programme at the AB-HWCs. ‘Eat Right’ programme is aimed at spreading awareness amongst the community on eating healthy and safe food.
Based on the plan, the AB-HWC team of Community Health Officer, Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) will be trained on various aspects of nutrition including food fortification, limiting the consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt, and hygiene.
Under the initiative, an Eat Right toolkit and Food Safety kit named ‘Magic Boxes’ have been developed in partnership with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The kits are planned to be placed at PHC/UPHC (Urban Primary Health Centres) level of AB-HWCs, where the community members can evaluate the food for adulteration with the help of lab technicians at AB-HWCs.