By Shalini Bhardwaj
New Delhi [India], May 17 (ANI): Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday released the findings of a third-party assessment of Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWC) in 18 states of India.
"AB-HWC was envisioned by the Prime Minister to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to the last mile. In this regard, third-party evaluation is important for proper assessment of the functioning and implementation of the scheme," said Mandaviya.
He further stated that the report will act as a "guiding principle" to plan better in the future.
Based on the feedback and monitoring of the scheme, the Union Health Minister said, "Necessary steps will be taken to further strengthen the scheme and Union govt is coordinating with states to ensure last-mile delivery through teleconsultation."
"The government is committed to providing the best healthcare to all," he added.
Dr VK Paul, Member Health Niti Aayog, was present virtually at the release of the report.
On the assessment of the report, Paul said that the governance structure should be established for the daily monitoring and review of AB-HWCs and need to further train the human resources at AB-HWCs.
Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary of the Union Health Ministry noted that the report will work as a foundation for future independent assessments of AB-HWCs and help in planning and redirecting efforts for ensuring the implementation of the objectives of the scheme.
As per a statement released by the Union Health Ministry, the assessment of AB-HWCs in 18 states has been done in two phases by non-governmental entities, GRAAM and JHPIEGO as well as AIIMS, New Delhi from the government sector for the year 2020-21.
"The primary aim of this exercise was to assess the pace of rollout of AB-HWCs in different states and to identify specific challenges in their rollout. Given the early stage of implementation, the assessment focussed primarily on the inputs and processes that contribute to the functionality of HWC and reviewed any gains in short-term outputs including community use of the expanded range of services with a focus on chronic non-communicable diseases care," the release stated.
The 18 states were selected to cover the spectrum of epidemiological transition levels as defined by the Global Burden of Disease India study with a higher focus on North-Eastern states.
The study covered a sample of 317 facilities across eighteen states with 117 Primary Health Centres (PHC)/Urban Primary Health Centres (uPHC) and 220 Sub Health Centres. 1,002 users from upgraded and 1,015 users from non-upgraded facilities were interviewed. The assessment covered both types of comparisons - a) pre and post-conversion of the Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs); b) HWCs and non-HWCs within the same district. (ANI)