The PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission is bound to develop well-maintained healthcare facilities, from treatment to critical research, in every nook and corner of India within the span of the next 3-4 years … writes Dr Ramesh Sharma

The foundation on which any society achieves success is good health. No society or nation can aim to be prosperous without adequate investment in the health of all, whether it pertains to an individual, a household or the entire community in general. Witnessing a paradigm shift in the health sector after 2014, the nation has been able to shift its focus towards building new hospitals, and medical colleges as well as ensuring free treatment for more than 50 crore poor people bringing in better and modern health facilities to thousands of villages and hundreds of small towns on a large scale as well.

PM addressing at the inauguration of 11 new medical colleges and a new campus of Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT) in Tamil Nadu, through video conferencing, in New Delhi on January 12, 2022.

This urgent scaling up of investment in the health sector is also a result of the worry that with outbreaks like COVID-19 or Nipah, there is an ongoing fear that pandemics may become a recurring phenomenon. In that context, to gear, the country towards dealing with the eventuality of a deadly pandemic, the launch of the scheme Prime Minister Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMASBY) with a budgeted expenditure of Rs. 64,180 crores over five years has come at the opportune moment. The PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana has been aimed at ensuring that the national health infrastructure is built in a way that is effective as well as catering well to the proper management of any future epidemics or similar health outbreaks.

It has the following significant objectives: 1. Uplifting and transforming the capacity of primary health care systems established within the geographical boundaries of the country. 2. Ensuring enhanced medical support and better healthcare facilities across the nation. 3. Adding fuel to the present national institutions. 4. To start various healthcare centres and hospitals so that each Indian citizens can gain access to advanced healthcare services all over the nation. 5. To guide that nation towards the progressive path in the field of wellness and health. And 6. Straightening the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare systems.

Subsequently, with the abovementioned desirable goals, the Government of India launched the PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission in October 2021 to further boost the ongoing strengthening of health infrastructure in the country. A major focus of the mission is to successfully fill the gaps that arise in the healthcare system of the nation, especially the access to treatment among the poor and the middle class. Therefore, it is hoped that the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission would emerge as the solution to the deficiencies within the healthcare system of the country.

In a series of initiatives that aim to build capacity for primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare sectors, the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission has turned out to be a big boon. The entire mission rests solidly on three major components to bridge the gap also: (1.) building facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, (2.) a robust testing network for disease diagnosis, and (3.) expansion and strengthening of epidemic-related research institutions. With the expansion of the scheme, services like disease identification, examination, advice and free medicines are being provided through the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs). Through this, the chances of the disease progressing to a serious stage are considerably reduced. In addition, building on top of this solid foundation, the mission aims to establish district-level facilities and 24-hour emergency operation centres alongside the need for an increased number of health laboratories as well.

With the establishment of 17,788 Rural Health and Wellness Centres along with 11,024 Urban Health and Wellness Centres, there has been a massive turnaround in a relatively short span of time. In addition, there are plans to establish 5 new Regional Centres for Disease Control, 17 new Public Health Units, 15 new Health Emergency Operation Centres, 20 new Metropolitan Health Service Units, 1 new National Institute of Virology along with 730 Integrated Public Health Laboratories in each district of the country. All in all, the mission is well on its way to becoming the largest-ever all-India scheme that can operationalise the public health infrastructure of the country in the most effective manner.

The PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission is bound to develop well-maintained healthcare facilities, from treatment to critical research, in every nook and corner of the country within the span of the next 3-4 years.

Therefore, it is clear that the nation with the collective efforts of the civil society, numerous state governments and the Government of India has been putting across its best foot forward in many aspects of policy. With a strong emphasis on ensuring the best possible healthcare services for all citizens, the entire ecosystem shall stand to benefit from the same. Only with well-oiled high-quality healthcare machinery in place can society prosper and effectively cater to the demands and aspirations of a rising India at the global level.


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