Prelims level : Governance Mains level : GS-II Governance, Social Justice and IR
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Why in News:

  • The Health Ministry will focus on strengthening preventive strategies so that people adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Background: / Ayushman Bharat:

  • The programme is aimed at making interventions to address health holistically, in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems.
  • The initiatives under the programme are:
  • Health and Wellness Centre
  • National Health Protection Scheme

Health and Wellness Centre:

  • National Health Policy, 2017 envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of
    India’s health system.
  • Under this, 1.5 lakh centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people.
  • The centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.
  • These will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services.
  • Contribution of private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.

National Health Protection Scheme:

  • This will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families.
  • This would translate to around 50 crore beneficiaries.
  • The scheme provides coverage of upto Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
  • This is said to be the world’s largest government funded health care programme.
  • Besides, 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals will be set up, by up-grading existing district hospitals in the country.
  • This would ensure that there is at least 1 Medical College for every 3 Parliamentary Constituencies. Also, at least 1 Government Medical College in each State of the country.
  • This is to further enhance accessibility of quality medical education and health care.

What is the Significance?

  • Lakhs of families, at present, borrow or sell assets to receive inpatient treatment.
  • The concern of the consequent impoverishment of poor and vulnerable families is a continuing one. Under the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), poor families get an annual coverage of Rs. 30,000. Several State governments have implemented or supplemented health protection schemes that provide varying coverage.
  • The present initiatives will supplement these in taking health care to a larger mass.
  • Higher health insurance cover is also seen as leading to a higher life expectancy.
  • The scheme could potentially ensure enhanced productivity and well-being, averting wage loss and impoverishment.
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