New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) A total of 1.5 lakh Sub-Health Centres (SHCs) or Primary Health Centres are being upgraded under the Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres initiative for betterment of local public health care in both rural and urban areas, the Parliament was told on Tuesday.
Over 77,406 HWCs -- 73,391 in rural and 4,015 in urban areas -- have become functional, and are delivering comprehensive primary health care closer to the homes of the people, Minister of State for Health Bharti Pravin Pawar told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
She also said that the 15th Finance Commission has recommended grants aggregating to Rs 70,051 crore, over the period of five years (2021-2026) through local governments, for strengthening healthcare system at the primary health care level.
On the steps taken for strengthening the Universal Immunisation Programme, Pawar said: "Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI-3.0) was also conducted in February 2021 & March 2021, to cover the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children. These efforts have contributed in reduction of immunisation gap coverage."
Appropriate communication material was developed and shared with the states and UTs for addressing vaccine hesitancy and strengthening routine immunisation with due precautions during the Covid-19 pandemic, she said.
"States/UTs have been asked to prepare specific plans to improve Full Immunisation Coverage and to ensure designated days in a week only for Routine Immunisation activity," the minister added.
On the issue of improving access to mental health services, she said these have been added in the package of services under Comprehensive Primary Health Care under Ayushman Bharat-HWC Scheme. Operational guidelines on mental, neurological, and substance use disorders (MNS) at Health and Wellness Centres have been released under the ambit of Ayushman Bharat, and such services are being provided to all sections of the society at the primary level, she added.
Pawar also said that PSA plants are being established in each district hospitals, especially in far-flung areas, to enable them to become self-sufficient in the generation of oxygen for their needs and reducing the burden on the medical oxygen supply grid across the country.
In response to a question on whether the data on Covid-19 deaths is being used by the government to prepare medical infrastructure for efficient management of the possible third wave, she said that a Covid Drugs Management Cell has been set up in the Department of Pharmaceuticals to oversee the management of smooth supply of drugs used in Covid-19 management.