Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to formally launch the government's comprehensive healthcare scheme, 'Ayushman Bharat' in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district on Saturday. The launch of the health and wellness centre is in line with the government's plans to upgrade 1.5 lakh sub-centres across the country.
A sub-centre is the first point of care in a village, currently manned by a auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), and offers immunisation and antenatal care services. Under the Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme, the government plans to upgrade these sub-centres to health and wellness centres (HWC), by appointing a team of healthcare professionals, headed by an AYUSH doctor and expanding the range of services.
The scope of the centre's activities would include activities such as population registration, basic lab tests using point of care diagnostics, and stocking and dispensing drug supplies, especially for non-communicable diseases. The centres would also be screening villagers for non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Currently, in the absence of a doctor or a nurse, the sub-centre ANM handles immunisation and care of pregnant women, and is also being trained for screening diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
The idea, say experts in the ministry, is to ramp up primary health care in the country–the sub-centre and the primary healthcare centre are being seen as a unit that will help lessen the heavy load of patients that are currently ending up at district hospitals. The second part of the Ayushman Bharat scheme will focus on secondary and tertiary care, by providing health insurance to 10 crore families in the country.
During his visit to Bijapur, the PM will also meet ASHA workers—frontline workers who form a crucial link between rural healthcare centres and the community.