India marked another key milestone in universalising primary healthcare. The planned target of operationalising 70,000 Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs) by March 31, 2021 has been realised ahead of time.
“The feat of scaling up at this pace despite the Covid pandemic was enabled by a high degree of coordination between the centre and states/UTs, foresight in planning, flexibility in adaptation, standardisation of processes, and regular interactions at all levels which enabled supportive monitoring and prompt redressal of issues. This is testimony to the process of effective decentralisation and cooperative federalism,” an official of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) said.
The launch of Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWC) in April 2018 marked a watershed moment in India’s public health history. By December 2022, 1,50,000 Sub-Health Centres and Primary Health Centres in urban and rural areas were targeted to be transformed to AB-HWCs and deliver comprehensive primary health care that includes preventive and health promotion at the community level with continuum of care and which is universal, free and close to community in rural and urban areas, with focus also on wellness. This mission mode approach also aimed at realising India’s vision of Universal Health Coverage.