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Dr Harsh Vardhan confers UHC awards to best performing States and UTs

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The event saw the release of CPHC Booklet for AB-HWCs, a Synthesis Report of Regional Workshops on AB-HWCs, Oral Healthcare Guidelines, AB-PMJAY 2020 Calendar

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare conferred the UHC Awards to best performing Primary Healthcare teams of States and UTs, in the presence of Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Preeti Sudan, Secretary (Health) and Dr Indu Bhushan, CEO (NHA), at the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day event organised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

To mark the UHC Day 2019, the Ministry organised three policy labs for extensive brainstorming  and deliberations on three themes: providing CHPC in urban areas; strengthening delivery systems; and communitisation for wellness.

Dr Vardhan congratulated the award winners and appreciated their dedication and hard work towards expanding the universal health coverage through various parts of the country. Speaking at the event, he said that as we aspire to move speedily towards UHC, we must strengthen the preventive, promotive and positive health concepts. He also said some radical new changes and innovations need to be done to achieve health for all, and health in all. “Let us involve all Government  Ministries/Departments at the Centre and States, along with the non-state actors and organisations/institutions to engage them into the health agenda in a constructive, smart and intelligent manner”. Since health is a multi-sectoral, multi-dimensional, layered, and a complex sector, we need multiple partners for achieving the agenda of ‘Health For All’, he added.

Choubey stated that the commitment for ‘Health For all’ is clearly seen from the Prime Minister’s address at the UNGA earlier this year where he highlighted four pillars for universal healthcare and gave the blueprint of how India plans to achieve the same. He added that people’s well being shall lead to global well being.

Sudan congratulated and thanked all the States and UTs for their efforts, which made possible the progress under HWCs and PMJAY. She stated that India has taken significant steps towards UHC by means of NHP 2017, Ayushman Bharat (with HWCs and PMJAY), the NMC Act, banning of e-cigarettes, approving 22 new AIIMS, up-gradation of 157 district hospitals as medical colleges, etc. She further said that while the stage has been set for expanding UHC,  we need to still address several challenges viz. expanding population, increasing and diversifying disease burden, devising different models for urban healthcare, accountability through social audits, engaging the private sector through effective partnerships etc. The three Policy Labs held today have helped us gain further clarity on the way forward, she added.

Dr Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog applauded the progress made under Ayushman Bharat. He said it is as much a time to celebrate as to aggressively aspire for strengthening UHC models of effective delivery and also to push for the same. He stressed on the importance of health financing by the centre and states; infrastructure in terms of hospitals and number of beds/1000 population and building capacity of HR at all levels i.e. general practitioner to specialists to nurses and paramedical staff.

Besides the awards, the event also saw the release of the CPHC Booklet for AB-HWCs, a Synthesis Report of Regional Workshops on AB-HWCs, Oral Healthcare Guidelines, AB-PMJAY 2020 Calendar and launch of the revamped AB-HWC portal.

Universal health coverage (UHC) aims that ‘all people have access to needed promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that people do not suffer financial hardship when paying for these services’. In December 2012, the United Nations passed a landmark resolution endorsing universal health coverage. In September 2015, the achievement of UHC was enshrined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a key target to be reached by 2030. UHC Day, first commemorated on December 12, 2014, marks the anniversary of the landmark UN resolution. In 2017, December 12 was officially designated as International Universal Health Coverage Day by the United Nations. In Sept 2019, in the backdrop of United Nations General Assembly, there was a high level meeting on UHC (UNHLM), where world leaders committed to advance UHC.

Also present at the award ceremony were, Dr Sanjay Tyagi, DGHS, Dr Poonam Khetarpal Singh, RD-WHO SEARO, Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative India and Vandana Gurnani, AS&MD (NHM) with the Health Secretaries and Mission Directors from the States along with other senior officers of MoH&FW and representatives of CSOs, NGOs and development partners.

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