Karnataka is marching ahead towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by strengthening provision of Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) in transformed primary public healthcare facilities. This the result of the 1,930 Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs) established in 30 districts in the State, as per the latest data updated by the State in AB-HWC Portal managed by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), GoI (as of February 2020).
14th April 2020 will mark the second anniversary of Government of India’s Health and Wellness Centre programme under Ayushman Bharat with the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launching the first AB-HWC in Jangla, Chhattisgarh, under the flagship Ayushman Bharat initiative. These transformed centres are aimed at providing free and accessible comprehensive primary healthcare, focusing on bringing preventive and promotive care closer to the community.
Reproductive Child Health (RCH), including antenatal care, childcare, and family planning have been strengthened and streamlined and focussed with the upgradation of Sub Health Centres and Primary Health Centres into AB-HWCs. Besides, to address the rising rate of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) related morbidity and mortality in India, AB-HWCs have started playing a significant role in the screening / diagnosis of common NCDs, such as hypertension, diabetes and three common cancers of Oral, Breast and Cervical cancers. The motivated primary healthcare team at these AB-HWCs have also focussed on the screening of communicable diseases such as Tuberculosis and Leprosy (it is to remind that India is in the path of Elimination of TB by 2025 well ahead of SDG target year of 2030).
Addressing a Media Briefing at Bengaluru on ‘Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres,’ Mr. Vikas Sheel, IAS, Joint Secretary (Policy) who looks after NTEP and AB-HWC Programmes in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India, said, “Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres are transforming the way primary care is delivered with focus on preventive and promotive health. Wellness is a key component of AB- HWCs. Happy to note that Karnataka is doing well.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Honourable Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, had launched the new ‘TB Harega Desh Jeetega’ Campaign, along with the National TB Prevalence Survey in 2019. Nine states account for 65 percent of the total TB burden of which Karnataka is also one. Others include Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, UP and West Bengal.
Data on Tuberculosis from Karnataka
Thus, screening and management of communicable diseases such as Tuberculosis and Leprosy are an important component of AB-HWCs under existing National Programmes viz, National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) and National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP).
Data on HWCs in Karnataka
Preventive Healthcare through Wellness activities is the important feature of these AB-HWCs and more focus is being given for lifestyle changes for creating behavioural changes in the communities. Regular sessions of YOGA and other physical activities at these AB-HWCs have attracted the community towards these transformed AB-HWCs.
AB-HWCs also play a crucial role in improving community well-being through the provision of wellness activities such as Yoga. Over 7 lakh Wellness and Yoga sessions have been conducted so far.
In addition to NCD screenings, Karnataka prioritized the need for community well-being by conducting more than 40,000 wellness as well as yoga activities in 1,922 AB-HWCs across the State.
Among the other States with well-performing HWCs are Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Gujarat, and Kerala. As per the latest data updated from the States in the AB-HWC Portal managed by MoHFW, GoI, 30,690 HWCs are functional across India as of February 2020.
The Ministry aims to establish 1.5 lakh HWCs by 2022 across India – with 40,000 of these functional by the end of March 2020 – in a phased manner, by transforming existing Sub Health Centres (SHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs). Provision of CPHC through these AB-HWCs forms the foundation for India’s march towards Universal Health Coverage in India.
Service utilization at HWCs across India
To ensure high quality healthcare services closer to the community, Sub Health Centre level AB-HWCs recruit trained and qualified health officers. So far 12,000 CHOs have been posted in SHC level AB-HWCs across India. They are trained BSc Nursing Graduates or GNM or Ayurvedic Practitioners who will dispense the drugs prescribed by the Medical Officers of the PHC level AB-HWCs and they will keep the family folders of the 30+ population being screened for common NCDs for follow-up of treatment of Hypertension and Diabetes.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, alongside other government figures jointly released the curriculum for the ‘School Health Ambassador Initiative’ under Ayushman Bharat on 12th February 2020. This promises to further strengthen the cornerstone of the AB-HWC scheme – preventive, promotive, and positive health.
Under the initiative, two teachers in every government school will be chosen as ‘Health and Wellness Ambassadors’ to disseminate information and teach students about the promotion of their health and well-being. These teaching sessions will be activity-based and conducted once a week for 24 weeks a year to promote “joyful learning”. Health and Wellness Ambassadors will be supported by class monitors who will be known as “Health and Wellness Messengers”.
About Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres
The Ayushman Bharat Programme has two key pillars that will help achieve Universal Health Care (UHC) for all Indians — Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs) component providing preventive and promotive health services; and another component, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) as a next step of health cover for those seeking tertiary (surgery) treatment.
- First AB-Health and Wellness Centre (HWC) was launched in April 2018. AB-HWCs aim to provide free and accessible comprehensive healthcare focusing on preventive, promotive, and curative care.
- The vision behind this initiative was to ensure that quality healthcare services are made available close to the community.
- Through this, the government has sought to ensure that people in rural, semi-urban, and peripheral areas/hard to reach are not deprived of access to quality and timely health services due to the unavailability of a health facility in their proximity.
- AB-HWCs offer comprehensive primary care including preventive and promotive healthcare close to the communities, while PMJAY provides health assurance cover to people of the country, thus fulfilling the vision of Government of India of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India aims to create 1.5 lakh AB-HWCs by 2022 across India – with 40,000 of these functional by the end of March 2020 – in a phased manner, by transforming existing Sub Health Centres and Primary Health Centres (PHCs).-MB Bureau