WHO (World Health Organization) will now provide technical support to accelerate the progress of Ayushman Bharat Scheme in India. The Country Cooperation Startegy (CCS) 2019-2023 has identified a strategic roadmap for WHO to work with the Central government achieving its health sector goals.
As per the strategy documents released, the apex health agency will support the union and selected state governments in implementing and scaling up the government’s newly established and planned initiatives and programmes. Accelerating progress on Universal Health Care (UHC) with a focus on equitable access and all aspects of health care delivery services will be the top priority.
Starting from a few states, WHO will help turn the blueprints for Ayushman Bharat Scheme into action. These states will be provided with guidance in policy discussions and assistance in designing, testing and evaluating the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) hospital insurance programme; the establishment of the new Health and Wellness Centres; and the setting up of linkages between these primary care facilities and higher levels of care to ensure continuum of care. All of this will be done by WHO.
This also includes eliminating neglected tropical diseases, giving financial protection for those requiring hospital care, ensuring digital health interventions are appropriately used to deliver health care and controlling vaccine-preventable and vector-borne diseases.
The CCS covers the period 2019-23 and it notes that significant improvements in health have been achieved in the past two decades – including sharp reductions in child and maternal mortality, the elimination of several infectious diseases (polio, maternal and neonatal tetanus, yaws), a dramatic decline in HIV/AIDS incidence, and a doubling of the percentage of births taking place in health facilities in 10 years.
Speaking at an event, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan mentioned that the four areas identified for strategic cooperation of WHO with the country includes:
- To accelerate progress on UHC,
- To promote health and wellness by addressing determinants of health,
- To protect the population better against health emergencies, and
- To enhance India’s global leadership in health
According to the WHO document, the CCS also expands its support in certain areas to meet new or growing health issues, such as air pollution, increasing suicide rates, and the challenge of making UHC a reality and not just builds upon the work that WHO has been carrying out in the last several years.
HenkBekedam, WHO Representative to India told that it’s a great opportunity to showcase India as a model to the world such as digital health, access to quality medicines and medical products, comprehensive hepatitis control program and Ayushman Bharat and implementation of this CCS will build on the remarkable successes in public health that India has demonstrated to the world.
This step will improve the health of entire nation while bringing in transformative changes in the health sector positively.