Additional service packages including basic oral health care, elderly and palliative healthcare and emergency medical services are planned to be rolled out at Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres in April, a key Government official said on Monday.
Vikas Sheel, Joint Secretary (Policy), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said that services being provided at AB-HWCs are targeted to be expanded from April 14, the second anniversary of the launch of the ambitious programme. “Programme guidelines are all ready”, he said.
So far, seven service packages including child health, immunisation, communicable and non-communicable diseases were being provided at AB-HWCs.
Some of the range of services to be added in two months include screening for mental health ailments, care for common ophthalmic and ENT problems and emergency medical services including burns and trauma, he told reporters here.
“As on date, 30,690 AB-HWCs are functional across the country,” said Sheel, who looks after National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme and AB-HWC in the Ministry. “By the end of March 2020, approximately 40,000 AB-HWCs will be functional,” he said.
Officials of the Ministry said the aim is to create 1.5 lakh AB-HWCs by 2022 across India by transforming existing sub-centres and Primary Health Centres (PHCs).
He also said ‘Eat Right’ programme which has two components — ‘Eat Healthy’ and ‘Eat Safe’ — is planned to be rolled out at AB-HWCs in the coming financial year. Officials said Eat Right toolkit and Food Safety kit (Magic Box) have been developed in partnership with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), an autonomous body established under the Ministry.
The aim is to spread awareness amongst the community on eating healthy and safe food.
‘Eat Right’ initiative
Under the ‘Eat Right’ initiative, the entire AB-HWC team of Community Health Officer, Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) would be trained on various aspects of nutrition including food fortification, limiting the consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt, and hygiene, among others, they said.
‘Magic Boxes’ are planned to be placed at PHC/UPHC (Urban Primary Health Centres) level of AB-HWCs, and community members can come, check and detect food adulteration with the help of lab technicians at AB-HWCs, officials said.
“This is a small kit which enables anybody to test food items. The idea is to create awareness about safe eating and also put some sort of deterrence in the retailers for adulteration and things like that”, Sheel said.-The HindubusinessLine