The Centre on Thursday asked the states to accelerate completion of projects under ECRP-II for strengthening healthcare infrastructure across the country, so that subsequent installment of funds can be released by Union Health Ministry.
In a virtual meeting with states to review the operationalisation status of Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs), tele-consultation services, and physical and financial progressmade under ECRP-II and the Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PM-ABHIM), the states were informed on Thursday about the necessary exemption which have been taken by the Election Commission and formally communicated to the poll-bound states for utilisation of funds.
Additionally, states were told to utilise savings under certain components of ECRP-II package with due approval for permissible and admissible components, instead of again seeking approval of the Union Health Ministry.
Chairing the meeting, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan highlighted that for ensuring comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) under Ayushman Bharat, Sub Health Centres (SHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are being strengthened as Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs).
The HWCs are crucial in providing preventive, promotive, rehabilitative and curative care for an expanded range of services encompassing reproductive and child health services, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, palliative care and elderly care, oral health, ENT care, and basic emergency care.
Trained officials like Mid-level Health Care Provider (MLHP), and Community Health Officer (CHO) are being placed at HWC-SHC and Medical Officers at PHC. They would facilitate delivery of these services at their respective health centres.
The states were advised to ensure the operationalisation of target of 1.10 lakh HWCs by March 31 through customised and focused strategy. This in effect means that these HWCs must be fully functional and equipped to dispense free meds, provide free diagnostics and all prescribed health packages including yoga and healthy living sessions.
The states were also advised to ensure that all the 1.10 lakh AB-HWCs are adequately equipped to function as effective and vibrant tele-consultation ‘Spokes’ which would include ensured availability of internet connectivity, desktop, laptop and required trained and skilled personnel including CHO.
States were also requested to expedite proposals and MoUs to be sent to Union Health Ministry under PM-ABHIM to enable the ministry to release funds for the states. States were advised to review the progress under this too.