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Strengthening PMJAY is top priority: Dr Harsh Vardhan

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Setting the agenda, new health minister promises to make every effort to achieve healthcare for all

Cycling to work on the first day to office and taking charge Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, informed that his top priority is to strengthen Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PMJAY) pan Indian and to implement it in left five more states.

Assuming office, doctor turned politician, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “Since Ayushman Bharat was implemented around 27 lakh people have availed the benefits under the scheme. However, still five states – Delhi, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal has not implemented the scheme. Firstly, I would personally call the chief ministers of the states and I will convince them to join the scheme. Still many people are not aware of the scheme and some of them who are in dire need of the benefits provided under the insurance scheme are not able to avail it due to eligibility criteria issues. These issue will be given top priority.”

He added that the ministry will make sure that every citizen is able to avail the benefits of the scheme. Currently, there are nearly 16,000 hospitals who are empanelled in the scheme. The minister further stated that they will connect more hospitals.

“As far as our health and wellness centres (HWC) are concerned nearly 10,000 are already established and we have the target of transforming nearly 1.5lakh primary health centres and sub-centres by 2022 to provide comprehensive and quality primary care close to the community,” he added.

Informing about the completion of new AIIMS projects, Vardhan said, “ In-order to improve the healthcare infrastructure, my priority would be to complete the work that has been started in 21 AIIMS and monitor them well. Work on the 75 new medical colleges and its expansion improvement and the quality of medical education will be closely monitored. As for eradication of tuberculosis by 2025 is a bold target and we will work on it in full pace.”

Talking about price control, Vardhan said, “In previous years, with a perspective to control the prices of essential drugs and essential devices, work has been done, but to rationalise it even more, we will have to work more on it.”

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