States and UTs have also been advised to ensure all the 1.10 lakh AB-HWCs are adequately equipped to function as effective and vibrant teleconsultation ‘Spokes’
The Union health ministry today asked the states and union territories to expedite the operationalisation of 1.1 lakh Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs), equipped with teleconsultation services, by March 31, 2022.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, chairing a meeting via video conferencing, said all states and UTs must also review physical and financial progress made under ECRP-II and Prime Minister Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PM-ABHIM).
The health secretary said health and wellness centres are crucial in providing preventive, promotive, rehabilitative and curative care for services encompassing reproductive and child health services, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, palliative care and elderly care, oral health, ENT care, and basic emergency care.
As per the ministry, trained officials like mid-level health care providers are being placed at HWC-SHC (health and wellness centres- sub-health centres) and medical officers at PHC to facilitate the delivery of these services. “HWCs will be crucial in enhancing the continuum of care and telehealth/ referrals,” it said.
It said states have been advised to ensure the operationalisation of the target of 1.10 lakh HWCs by 31st March 2022 via a customised and focused strategy. This means that HWCs must be fully functional and equipped to dispense free meds, provide free diagnostics and all prescribed health packages including yoga and healthy living sessions, the ministry said.
They have also been advised to ensure all the 1.10 lakh AB-HWCs are adequately equipped to function as effective and vibrant teleconsultation “Spokes”, meaning they’ll ensure the availability of internet connectivity, desktop/ laptop and required trained and skilled personnel including CHO.
States were told to ensure that all the HWCs are mapped to a “Hub”, which could be a district hospital or district medical college hospital. “For each such spoke, States must ensure that a base minimum number teleconsultation sessions are conducted, starting from today,” the ministry said.
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