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Health ministry urges states to prioritize PHCs, turn them into wellness centres

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The health ministry stressed on strengthening sub-health centres into Health and Wellness Centres (HWC) in a phased manner, to meet the commitment of operationalising 1,50,000 HWC by 2022.

A two-day national consultation conference on operationalising the HWC for provision of comprehensive primary healthcare under Ayushman Bharat was organised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), in New Delhi.

“The health ministry has asked the states to prioritise all PHCs, turn them into wellness centres in selected blocks and districts, where infrastructure and human resource were already in place, in the first year of the implementation of the ambitious National Health Protection Mission (NHPM),”a official statement said.

The ministry stressed on strengthening sub-health centres as HWCs in a phased manner so as to meet the commitment of operationalising 1,50,000 HWC by 2022. Aspirational districts were also to be prioritised.

“However, it was emphasized that the screening, prevention, control and management of non-communicable diseases, which is one of the packages of expanded services HWC-SHC in order to address the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases,” an official statement said.

The key objective of the meeting was to come to a shared and common understanding of the multiple components to enable HWC to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare, and obtain inputs to the draft operational guidelines. It emphasised the critical importance of selecting motivated candidates as mid-level health providers and strengthening the primary healthcare team including the multi-purpose workers (male and female) and ASHA.

“The importance of the shift from selective to comprehensive primary healthcare, the uninterrupted availability of medicines for chronic diseases, and the criticality in establishing a seamless continuum of care, to build trust and confidence in the public health system and in reducing out of pocket expenditure were highlighted,” the statement said.

The presentations also drew attention to the platforms created under the National Health Mission (NHM), which could be effectively leveraged to operationalise and scale up HWC. States were asked to provide inputs to the draft operational guidelines which are expected to be finalised soon, and to undertake orientation of state and district teams on the concept and vision of delivering comprehensive primary health care through the HWC.

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