1.5 lakh public health centres to be converted into wellness centres
Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the much neglected rural healthcare centres called Public health centres (PHCs) will soon be converted into 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres across the country. It will also provide financial protection to 10.74 crore poor and deprived rural families, and identified occupational categories of urban workers' families with a benefit cover of Rs. 500,000 per family per year.
Benefit to Rural Population
These centres are being set up a panchayat level as the scheme intends to bring medical facilities to the remotest villages. These centres would be fully equipped with facilities like telemedicine which would enable patients to get advice from specialists without having to travel away from home.
Other facilities to be offered at these health and wellness centres includes diagnosis and ailments of obstetrics, dentistry, BP, diabetes, mental health, geriatric problems, oral cancer, cervix cancer, breast cancer and eye screening etc.
Yoga lessons will also be offered in the vicinity of these centres so that people get a chance to incorporate the discipline into their lifestyle.
Though the healthcare sector is among the largest and fastest growing sectors in the country, with expectations to reach $280 billion by 2020, it is characterized by several challenges such as high out-of-pocket expenditure, low financial protection, and abysmally low health insurance coverage.
One of the major challenges in implementing this initiative is because the country relies heavily on the private healthcare sector, which, sadly, has become riddled with corruption and malpractices.
The government must acknowledge that the expansion of universal health coverage can't be achieved without first developing a strong and comprehensive framework for regulating the healthcare sector in the country. Such a measure would not only lead to greater accountability and transparency in the system, restoring people's trust and confidence in health care providers, but more importantly, improve the overall quality of healthcare.