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NDHM program will never be mandatory: Harsh Vardhan

Unique Health IDs under the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) program will never be made mandatory for individuals, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday. He was interacting with his social media followers online on the Sunday Samvad platform’s first episode.

Allaying fears, the health minister clarified that it is an utter lie that those who do not become part of this digital health ecosystem system shall not be allowed to access the hospitals. “Those persons or institutions who are not a part of this system shall continue to enjoy access to the healthcare system in exactly the same manner as they are doing now. Participation in the digital health ecosystem shall be totally optional and shall never be made mandatory for individuals,” said Harsh Vardhan.

“NDHM is one of the most ambitious missions of the Government of India and is set to catapult India as a global leader in the field of digital health. However, there are vested interests that do not want India to succeed and are spearheading a disinformation campaign against NDHM,” he said.

Over one lakh unique Health IDs have been created by citizens across six states and the UTs in India within one month of the launch of government’s ambitious NDHM. National Health Authority (NHA) the nodal agency for implementation of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) responsible for designing, building, rolling-out and implementing the program initially launched it in these six union territories on 15 August on a pilot basis.

Health ID under NDHM is a free of cost, voluntary and consent-based application that helps citizens to create Health ID using Aadhaar or mobile number along with basic information. According to the government, people can store safely and keep track of all their health data and share data only with verified doctors or healthcare providers. It also provides access to health data only after their informed consent and revoke anytime. The health IDs also has a voluntarily opt-out option where in persons using it can erase their data anytime.3

The government has said that the health IDs come handy and useful. It can be used to create safer and efficient digital health records for all, it has easy sign-up and easy to remember with usernames, it allows linking of one’s family members’ Health IDs with theirs. Users can also create child’s health account at birth and track vaccination etc, according to the government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the NDHM, while addressing the nation from Red Fort on India’s 74th Independence Day on 15 August, 2020. – Livemint

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