Union Health Secretary, Shri Rajesh Bhushan chaired a meeting through video conference (VC) today with all States and UTs to review the operationalisation status of Ayushman Bharat Health & Wellness Centres (HWCs), Tele-consultation services and physical and financial progress made under ECRP-II and Prime Minister Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PM-ABHIM).
Highlighting that Government of India is dedicated to expanding public healthcare delivery across the country, States were informed through a detailed presentation on the status of implementation of AB-HWCs, their operationalisation as tele-consultation centres, and status of implementation of projects under ECRP-II package.
Union Health Secretary highlighted that for ensuring comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) under Ayushman Bharat, Sub Health Centres (SHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are being strengthened as Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs). The HWCs are crucial in providing preventive, promotive, rehabilitative and curative care for an expanded range of services encompassing reproductive and child health services, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, palliative care and elderly care, oral health, ENT care, and basic emergency care. Trained officials like Mid-level Health Care Provider (MLHP)/Community Health Officer (CHO) are being placed at HWC-SHC and Medical Officer at PHC (Rural/Urban). They would facilitate delivery of these services at their respective health centres. HWCs will be crucial in enhancing continuum of care and tele-health/ referrals.
The States were advised to ensure operationalisation of target of 1.10 lakh HWCs by 31st March 2022 through customised and focused strategy. This in effect means that these HWCs must be fully functional and equipped to dispense free meds, provide free diagnostics and all prescribed health packages including yoga and healthy living sessions.
They were also advised to ensure that all the 1.10 lakh AB-HWCs are adequately equipped to function as effective and vibrant tele-consultation “Spokes”. This would include ensured availability of internet connectivity, desktop/ laptop and required trained and skilled personnel including CHO. States also are required to ensure that all the HWCs are mapped to a “Hub” which could be a District Hospital or District Medical College Hospital. For each such spoke, States must ensure that a base minimum number teleconsultation sessions are conducted, starting from today.
Reiterating the advise to states on expediting utilisation of funds released under ECRP-II package for strengthening healthcare infrastructure across the country (since the funds will lapse on 31st March 2022), States were again reminded to accelerate completion of projects under ECRP-II, such that subsequent instalment of funds can be released by Union Health Ministry. They were also informed that necessary exemption from ECI have been taken and formally communication to the poll-bound States for utilisation of funds.
Additionally, States were also advised that they can utilise savings under certain components of ECRP-II package with due approval of State Health Societies for permissible and admissible components, instead of again seeking approval of Union Health Ministry.
States were also requested to expedite proposals and MOUs to be sent to Union Health Ministry under PM-ABHIM to enable the Ministry to release funds for the states. States were advised to review the progress under this too.
Shri Vikas Sheel, AS & MD, Shri Vishal Chauhan, Jt. Secy, Shri Lav Agarwal, Jt. Secy and other senior officers of Union Health Ministry were present in the virtual review meeting along with NHM Mission Directors and other officials from States/UTs.
HFW/Secy Sates VC-ECRP-Telecon/17th February2022/5