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Global leaders review two years of Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY

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Besides providing universal health coverage, Ayushman Bharat scheme to generate around 11 lakh jobs in the next five to seven years, making it the second largest employment creator after the Railways: Dr Vardhan

Marking two years of Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY, the National Health Authority organised a virtual Arogya Manthan session on “Moving towards Universal Health Coverage” which was addressed by global leaders.

As per a release from the National Health Authority, in the past two years, more than 1.26 crore cashless hospital treatments worth Rs. 15,500 crore have been provided under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY. More than 23,300 hospitals have been empanelled under the scheme across 32 States and Union Territories.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, said, “Ayushman Bharat has made India a global leader in daring to tread the path of de-linking healthcare from affluence and ability to pay. This scheme has also showcased the strong political intent of our Government to make a paradigm shift in the healthcare sector.”

Dr Vardhan added, “Two important path-breaking reforms, one, we disbanded the Medical Council of India and created the National Medical Commission. With this our government has already embarked on the path to major reforms in medical education. The second, Ayushman Bharat which has laid the foundation for a disease-free India and for universal healthcare. A universal healthcare is a strong component of our Hon. PM’s vision of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’. Ensuring that all people can access the health services they need – without facing financial hardship – is key to improving the well-being of a country’s population. Universal Health Coverage is critical in ensuring this access to affordable and quality healthcare services.”

Saying that the private sector has played a critical role in the success of the Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY, Dr Vardhan referred to the Hon. Prime Minister’s remarks in the Arogya Manthan 1.0, that around 11 lakh jobs are estimated to be generated due to Ayushman Bharat scheme in the next five to seven years which will make it the second largest employment creator after the Railways. “Ayushman Bharat is not only improving the health outcomes of the beneficiaries of the scheme, but also improving the standard of living of millions of families who are getting employment opportunities due to the scheme,” said Dr Vardhan.

Hon’ble Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare also mentioned that, “Through UHC, we want to empower the last mile beneficiary and ensure that the benefits of our work reach across every part of the country. Ayushman Bharat journey has just started. I am extremely confident that in years to come, Ayushman Bharat will be a key enabler in making our country more healthy, accessible and equitable”.

Commending the Government of India’s Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY scheme and its progress towards Universal Health Coverage, Dr Tedros Adhanom, Director General, World Health Organisation said, “It has never been clearer that Universal Health Coverage and health security are two sides of the same coin. AB-PMJAY’s commitment to build 1,50,000 health and wellness centres by 2022 providing a wide range of services is commendable. Ayushman Bharat has reputation to transform the lives of millions of Indians and to transform the future of India. The scheme has been rolled out in various states and UTs covering 10 million people in May alone. I would like to congratulate PM Modi, Government. of India and NHA for your vision and for your tireless efforts to realise this vision.”

Congratulating India for successfully implementing AB PM-JAY in the last two-years, Prof Abhijit Banerjee, Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a co-recipient of the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences said, “I think that we are at the important juncture of one of history’s most ambitious healthcare project in the world. We all understand that healthcare is not only going to be important for the life of people but it’s also the lifeline of the economy. Another question to ask is why some people joined the scheme and others do not. What’s stopping the enrollment and what are the problems they are facing in enrolment. How are people reacting to the fact that some of their healthcare providers are not even eligible for participating in the scheme. It is going to be a key question because we know that healthcare ecosystem in India is diverse and so we need to address the fact that why would people be willing to make the switch”

Sharing the achievements and challenges of Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY, Dr. Indu Bhushan, CEO, NHA said, “‘Hon’ble. PM Modi launched Ayushman Bharat PMJAY two years ago from Ranchi. His vision was that no poor person should be deprived from treatment, no one should become poor by bearing the cost of treatment. There has been a healthy momentum in the scheme’s growth. Treatments worth more than Rs. 300 billion were saved by our beneficiaries. However, there have been key achievements in terms of implementation of the scheme in large scale. Framework of convergence at state and centre has facilitated in expanding the reach of the scheme with control over the quality of care through standard treatment protocols. There has been use of artificial intelligence and machine learning against the zero-tolerance policy against fraud and abuse. The implementation of IT platform not only helped in implementing the scheme but helped in our response to COVID-19 through our helplines and databases for both PMJAY and Non-PMJAY patients. We also aim to resolve certain challenges during implementation such as ensuring the continuum of care, engaging private sector involvement, working against fraud abuse. We also aim to strengthen our payment system and ensure hospitals are paid on time. We also need to expand tertiary care treatments.”

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