Union Minister of Tribal Affairs and Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Arjun Munda has interacted with the media on Wednesday in New Delhi.

The subject was ‘Universal Health Coverage – Leaving No One Behind’. 

Focus of the interaction was Centre’s initiatives to provide health security for the poorest of the poor. The briefing was held in the presence of Union Minister of State (Agriculture and Farmers Welfare), Smt. Shobha Karandlaje; MP (Lok Sabha), Shri Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma; and MP (Rajya Sabha), Smt. Indu Bala Goswami. 

Shri Munda informed that the Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana was launched in Ranchi, Jharkhand, on September 23, 2018. It is providing health security to the poorest of the poor in the country. 

“This is the world’s largest government funded healthcare program targeting more than 55 crore beneficiaries, aiming to provide insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh per annum”, Minister said.

The Minister expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, for the launch of National Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) Elimination Programme on 1st July 2023. 

It aims at addressing the significant health challenges posed by sickle cell disease, particularly among tribal population of the country. Shri Munda informed that the mission aims to screen over 8 crore tribals for SCA, out of which over data for 90 lakh people has already been collected. 

Shri Munda further informed about a mammoth initiative by the Government, Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM JANMAN), to bring about a 360-degree development in tribal areas. The PM JANMAN Mission targets the development of 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) who have been left out by the schemes of various Ministries/Departments. 

This Mission has a financial outlay of around Rs. 24,000 crores, and focuses on 11 critical interventions related to 9 key Ministries. Tribal Health is one of the key focus areas under PM JANMAN, the Minister explained. 

The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs will be nodal and coordinating Ministry, whereas each of other 8 sectoral ministries and departments will implement the interventions related to them, he added. The Minister also said that now through Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra, it is aimed to ensure 100% saturation of government programmes which benefit people directly including tribals living in remotest areas. 

The Minister noted that the healthcare sector in the country had achieved more in the last 9 years than what was done in the preceding 70 years and holistic healthcare has been placed among the top priorities of this government. The Ayushman Bharat scheme under health infrastructure mission is creating modern health facilities at the district level. 

There were only 8 AIIMS in the country but that number has gone up to 23 now, of which 20 are fully functional. He further revealed that testing facilities have been created and more than 1.6 lakh Ayushman Arogya Mandirs are being established. A healthy individual, a healthy family and a healthy society are the essentials to make a fit India, Shri Munda added.

Giving more details, Shri Arjun Munda said that under the vision of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the country has seen an unprecedented revolution in the field of health. Today, for the first time in the country, health is being linked with development. In fact, a widespread sentiment of “Healthy Nation, Wealthy Nation” has now been created in the country. 

In the last few years in the country –

  1. 1,63,000 Ayushman Arogya Mandirs were opened for primary health, which is one center available for every less than 10,000 population. 
  2. With the aim of having one medical college in every district, their number has been increased from 350 to more than 700 in the last 9 years. 
  3. In the last 9 years, the number of MBBS seats has been increased from 52,000 to more than 1,80,000.
  4.  Also, the number of PG seats has been increased from 31,185 (in 2014) to 70,674 at present.
  5. In the last 9 years, more than 10,000 Jan Aushadhi stores were opened in the country and now their number is being increased from 10,000 to more than 25,000. Affordable medicines are being provided which were once beyond the reach of poor people. Through Jan Aushadhi Yojana, the poor of the country have so far saved more than Rs 25,000 crore. 
  6. The price of Heart Stent has been reduced from Rs 1.25 lakh (2017) to Rs 38,000 and the price of Knee implants has also been reduced drastically. 
  7. Before 2014, there were only 8 AIIMS in the country, today their number has increased to 23.
  8. A grid has been created by connecting 5,000 blood banks in the country together on the National Portal, so that people can know in a transparent manner which blood group is available in which blood bank. 
  9. Today, 55 crore people in the country have got the guarantee of free health cover up to Rs 5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat – PMJAY scheme.

An important component of Ayushman Bharat programme is to establish Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centers (AB-HWCs) in the country, now known as Ayushman Arogya Mandir. Ayushman Arogya Mandir integrates promotive, preventive, curative, palliative and rehabilitative aspects of universal health coverage with the goal of providing comprehensive primary health care (CPHC) close to people’s homes.

As of 18th December 2023, the cumulative achievement reported in these Ayushman Arogya Mandirs is as follows:

o          Footfall – 227.41 crore

o          Wellness session – 2.81 crore 

o          Hypertension screening – 55.72 crore

o          Diabetes screening – 48.49 crore

o          Oral cancer screening – 32.83 crore

o          Breast cancer screening – 14.92 crore 

o          Cervical cancer screening – 10.05 crore

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