A total of 1,384 existing Primary Health Centres (PHC) and 460 urban PHCs across Tamil Nadu have been transformed into health and wellness centres under the Centre’s flagship programme — Ayushman Bharat. Of the 8,000-odd health sub-centres in the State, 985 have so far been transformed into health and wellness centres, while the remaining will be converted in a phased manner.
The creation of 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres across the country is one of the two components of Ayushman Bharat; the aim being providing comprehensive primary health care. To do this, existing PHCs, urban PHCs and health sub-centres are being converted into health and wellness centres in the State through the National Health Mission (NHM) – Tamil Nadu.
K. Senthil Raj, mission director, NHM-TN, said the objective of transforming existing primary healthcare facilities into health and wellness centres was to provide comprehensive primary healthcare to people. “The focus is primarily on screening for Non- Communicable Diseases. Screening for diabetes, hypertension, cancers of the cervix, breast and oral cancer will be available. The centres will provide medications for diabetes and hypertension, and refer those diagnosed with cancer to higher centres for further treatment/management. Apart from this, trauma care, including for injuries from falls and poisonous bites, will be provided,” he said.
While PHCs provide round-the-clock services, health sub-centres function from morning to evening, he said. As per the Government of India’s instructions, health sub-centres are being transformed into health and wellness centres in a phased manner as there were requirements of training the existing staff, he said, adding: “In each health unit district, one block has been identified for universal health coverage. All health sub-centres in these blocks have been transformed into health and wellness centres.”
District-level public health officials said that while a majority of the services at PHCs remained the same after being transformed into health and wellness centres, it is the health sub-centres that now offer additional services. One of the main additions are facilities to collect blood samples, an official said.
“Blood samples for blood sugar or blood pressure level or haemoglobin are being collected at the sub-centres, and transported in a vehicle to the nearby PHC or block PHC. If a person needs his/her urea or creatinine levels checked, the village health nurse would make arrangements to transport the samples to the PHC. Earlier, medications for diabetes and hypertension were not available at the sub-centres. Now, these medications are available for patients, and about 25 drugs have been added to the sub-centre for the benefit of patients,” the official added.-The Hindu