How NITI Aayog Is Going To Strengthen Primary Healthcare Sector
Primary healthcare broadly encompasses preventive, curative, and rehabilitative care for both acute and chronic illnesses.
Thus, it is of utmost importance that the government should provide services such as screening and management of non-communicable diseases, mental health ailments, geriatric and palliative health care, trauma care and emergency care among others.
Hence, to ensure sufficient coverage of affordable primary care and to lower the burden on secondary and tertiary care, The NITI Aayog has called for accelerating the establishment of 1, 50,000 Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) under the Ayushman Bharat programme.
The centres will be operational on priority by 2022-23 to ensure sufficient coverage of affordable primary care and lower the burden on secondary and tertiary care.
Strengthening the Primary Healthcare Sector
Amid a rapidly changing demography, large gaps remain in the ability of India to ensure equitable access to quality healthcare and to improve health outcomes. The primary health system in India is unable to alter significantly the face of healthcare delivery as it stands as its limited in scope.
Even where there is a well-functioning public primary health centre, only services related to pregnancy care, limited childcare and certain services related to national health programmes are provided, which represent only 15 per cent of all morbidities for which people seek care.
Thus, a primary healthcare model is necessary for early detection and prevention of chronic diseases and also to win the battle against non-communicable diseases.
Niti Aayog is planning to cover the entire country with a network of viral research and diagnostic laboratories with a testing capacity of more than 15 lakh samples per year.
The Aayog also pitched for ensuring access to drugs and medical devices at affordable prices as it was an essential ingredient of Universal Health Coverage. It observed that citizens have to incur high out-of-pocket expenditure on primary health care, of which the largest expenditure is on drugs.
They are also designing a comprehensive media and outreach strategy to increase awareness of the scheme among intended beneficiaries and other stakeholders and institutionalising health technology assessment at the central and state levels.