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Of 1.17 lakh health and wellness centres, 1L to have teleconsultation services from Apr 16

Of the 1.17 lakh health and wellness centres operationalised in the country, one lakh will have teleconsultation services from April 16, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.

If someone living in a remote village needs health-related advices from an expert, the teleconsultation services will be quite helpful for him, Mandaviya said in a tweet.

The Union health ministry will organise week-long celebrations under “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” from April 16 to April 22 to mark the fourth anniversary of the Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs), it said in a statement.

Mandaviya, who chaired a meeting through video-conferencing on Tuesday with the health ministers and senior officials of all the states and Union territories to review the operationalisation status of the AB-HWCs and the teleconsultation services, provided guidance on the preparations and invited suggestions from them for the celebrations.

Appreciating the healthcare services being provided through the digital platform of teleconsultation, Mandaviya noted that “e-Sanjeevani” is providing affordable and accessible healthcare, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“People in many states have been quick to recognise the benefits of e-Sanjeevani and this has led to an encouraging trend of widespread rapid adoption of this digital modality of seeking health services. Patients consult with doctors and specialists on a daily basis using this innovative digital medium to seek health services.

“Teleconsultation services are very crucial for people in remote areas and are helpful in making healthcare services accessible for all. The states and Union territories should mobilise all the stakeholders in providing services at the spokes and efficiently connecting them with the hubs,” he said.

The Union minister also advised the states to promptly and proactively spread awareness regarding the AB-HWC “health melas”, which will be organised from April 18 to April 22, in addition to the yoga sessions to be organised on April 17 at all the HWCs, so that the citizens can actively participate in these programmes and become aware of the HWC services provided in their regions.

“Yoga connects the body with the mind and the soul and is an integral part of our health and well-being. We should promote yoga among the masses so that everyone benefits from this,” Mandaviya said.

Highlighting the importance of working as Team India, he said the Centre must take the “whole of government” and “whole of society” approaches to serve the citizens better and ensure good governance. The way the government has worked on a mission mode in providing quality medicines through the Jan Aushadhi Kendras is a prime example of this, he added.

Translating the intent of the National Health Policy-2017 to achieve universal health coverage into budgetary commitment, the Centre announced the establishment of 1.5 lakh AB-HWCs in February 2018.

The existing sub-health centres and primary health centres in rural and urban areas are being transformed to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare to all the citizens, closer to their homes, for free.

The concerted and collaborative efforts of the states and the Centre have resulted in 1,17,440 AB-HWCs being operationalised across the country by the end of March, against the target of 1.1 lakh, the ministry said.

The Union health ministry, in collaboration with all the states and Union territories and key ministries such as the women and child development, information and broadcasting, panchayati raj, Ayush and education ministries, will also organise block-level “health melas” at all the 1.17 lakh AB-HWCs across the country.

The AB-HWCs are also being revolutionised by connecting those with e-Sanjeevani teleconsultation services.

On April 16, a live broadcast of the celebrations will connect with primary healthcare team members in more than 75,000 AB-HWCs and citizens who have received services through teleconsultation.

The celebrations will also witness the launch of the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) and Public Health Management Cadre (PHMC) guidelines. The top three states and Union territories reporting the highest number of teleconsultation services, the states that have already achieved their December 2022 targets, along with the good-performing states under the TB-Mukt Bharat campaign shall be felicitated.

On the second day, yoga sessions will be organised at all the AB-HWCs under “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” to highlight the integration of health and wellness in service provision at the centres.

From April 18, health melas at the AB-HWCs in at least one block in each district of the states and Union territories will be inaugurated across the country. Each health mela would be a daylong event and each block in the states and Union territories is to be covered.

The key services to be provided at the health melas shall include consultation, testing and treatment for reproductive child health-related services, screening for hypertension and diabetes, yoga, meditation and lifestyle counselling, counselling for tobacco and alcohol cessation, cancer prevention awareness and general health check-up teleconsultation with specialists.
MB Bureau

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