The National Health Protection Mission (NHPM) is not aimed at garnering political dividends, but to change the nation’s healthcare landscape, Union Minister JP Nadda said on Monday, noting that more states are likely to sign pacts to implement the scheme. Eight states and four Union territories (UTs) have already signed MoUs with the Health Ministry to implement the scheme that aims to provide a cover of ₹5 lakh per family annually to 10 crore vulnerable families. “We shall be signing MoUs with 14 states very soon. Similarly, we shall convert 1.5 lakh primary health centers and sub-centers as Health and Wellness Centers. The approval has been given to 19,000 this year,” the Union Health Minister said.
Observing that ensuring a stable and robust IT platform is a key pre-requisite for the scheme’s successful implementation, Nadda asserted that the time-line is being adhered to and the IT system will be available for testing by next month.
Referring to the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission as one of the major achievements of the government in the last four years, he said the standard operating procedures for the empanelment of hospitals will also be shared with the states on June 14. “The Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission is not aimed at gaining any political dividends. Once implemented, it will change the healthcare landscape in the country,” Nadda said. Regarding private hospitals, he said discussions are on to bring them on board. According to a senior Health Ministry official, a robust information technology (IT) system will help in identifying beneficiaries, processing claims and making payments, besides ensuring there are no embezzlement of funds. Four states – Delhi, Odisha, Punjab and West Bengal – have not yet given any positive response towards adopting the program, he said, adding that discussions with these states are on.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to roll out the scheme on August 15. The initiative would eventually become the world’s largest healthcare program as India has the second largest population globally, Nadda said. The expansion of primary care through 1.5 lakh health and wellness centers, which is another pillar of Ayushman Bharat, will provide screening for tuberculosis and leprosy along with diabetes, hypertension, breast, oral and cervix cancers among others, he said. Nadda said 19,000 wellness centers have already been approved by the Cabinet and by 2022 1.5 lakh sub-centers will be converted into wellness centers which will focus on promotive and preventive health. – Millennium Post