Since February 1, as many as 1.41 crore individuals were screened for hypertension, 1.13 crore for diabetes and 1.34 crore for oral, breast or cervical cancer at more than 41,000 health and wellness centres across the country.
The Union health ministry said on Friday that a record number of 8.8 crore people, at 41,000 health and wellness centres (HWCs) across the country, have availed healthcare services through the government’s flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme since February 1. The ministry informed that the number of footfalls recorded in the five months since February 1, 2020, is almost same as the number recorded in the previous 21 months—from April 14, 2018, to January 31, 2020. This is despite restrictions on the movement of people during the nationwide lockdown this year in the wake of corornavirus pandemic, it said in a statement.
According to the health ministry’s statement, during the last five months, 1.41 crore individuals were screened for hypertension, 1.13 crore for diabetes and 1.34 crore for oral, breast or cervical cancer at more than 41,000 health and wellness centres across the country.
Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, HWCs in July alone supplied medicines to about 5.62 lakh patients of hypertension and 3.77 lakh diabetes patients, the statement said. Also, as many as 6.53 lakh yoga and wellness sessions have been organised at the HWCs across the country since February 1 even as rising COVID-19 cases pose a challenge.
The ministry statement praised the healthcare workers for their work in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. “HWCs form the primary pillar of Ayushman Bharat, envisaging to provisioning of universal and comprehensive primary health care through transformation of 150,000 sub-health centres and primary health centres into HWCs by 2022,” it said.
“The resilience of the health systems was reflected through continued operationalisation of HWCs and continued delivery of non-COVID-19 essential health services while also meeting the urgent tasks of prevention and management of COVID-19,” the statement added.
Between January and June, 12,425 HWCs were added to the healthcare system, increasing the number of HWCs from 29,365 to 41,790.
During the pandemic, HWCs have played a crucial role in ensuring non-COVID essential services for patients. They already had a list of patients with chronic disease from their earlier population-based screenings for non-communicable diseases. That helped them conduct faster screening of individuals with co-morbidities and provide advice for protection against infections, the statement added.