Dr. Bharati Pawar, Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare felicitates the health workers in advancing progress towards Universal Health Coverage

On the occasion of Universal Health Coverage Day, Smt. Bharati Pawar, Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare felicitated the best performing primary health care teams of Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centers (AB-HWCs) across 36 States and the Union Territories in the presence of Shri. Rajesh Bhushan, IAS, Secretary Health, MoHFW, Shri. Ram Sevak Sharma, CEO, NHA, Shri.Vikas Sheel, AS&MD, NHM, Ms. Sangita Patel, Director, Health Officer, USAID India, and Dr Roderico H. Ofrin, WHO Representative. Further, 15 best performing States and UTs were also awarded for the month-long campaign under Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

The states of Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Jharkhand were awarded for screening of NCDs and Common Cancer while Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Assam won the screening award under the category of NE states, hilly states, and UTs. Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu won the awards for wellness promotion while Chandigarh, Dadar, and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Mizoram won the award under the category of NE states, hilly states, and UTs. In addition, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha were awarded the maximum number of digital health ids created. MoHFW also conferred the PMJAY-NHA awards to the hospitals from three states (Chhattisgarh, Punjab, and Kerala) for implementing the best practices under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY during this occasion.

To mark UHC Day, 2021, the MoHFW in partnership with USAID-NISHTHA/Jhpiego and WHO organized a day-long event which was attended by senior national and state-level officials, national experts, development and implementing partners supporting the rollout of Ayushman Bharat-Health Wellness Centers.

Dr. Bharati Pawar, MoS, MoHFW congratulated the award winners and appreciated their contribution towards heading closer to the goal of achieving universal health coverage in India. Speaking at the event, she said, “As we steadily move towards expanding universal health coverage, the role of the healthcare workers in strengthening comprehensive primary healthcare services and operationalizing the Ayushman Bharat – Health & Wellness Centres, needs to be recognized and celebrated. It is only through their efforts during the COVID pandemic and beyond, that we could manage the pandemic and build resilience for future threats.”

She further added, “I congratulate all the states/UTs in helping us achieve the benchmark of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. This would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the primary healthcare teams of Ayushman Bharat – Health & Wellness Centres across all states/UTs”.

Mr. Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary (Health) congratulated and thanked all the States & UTs for their efforts, which made possible the progress under HWCs and PMJAY. He highlighted that the country has made significant strides towards achieving UHC through the Ayushman Bharat Program. He added that while the stage has been set for expanding UHC, we need to still address several challenges viz. expanding population, increasing & diversifying disease burden, devising different models for urban healthcare, accountability through social audits, engaging the private sector through effective partnerships, etc.

Besides the awards, the event also saw the e-launch of the coffee table book and release of training manuals for primary health care teams on an expanded package of services, and the launch of the SMS feature in the NCD portal.

During the program, a consultative workshop with the current year’s UHC day theme, “Leave No One’s Health Behind: Invest in health systems for all” was also held where the states shared their challenges, best practices, and learnings on implementation of the CPHC program.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) aims that ‘all people have access to promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that people do not suffer financial hardship when paying for these services. In December 2012, the United Nations passed a landmark resolution endorsing universal health coverage. In September 2015, the achievement of UHC was enshrined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a key target to be reached by 2030. UHC Day, first commemorated on 12 December 2014, marks the anniversary of the landmark UN resolution.

In 2017, 12 Dec was officially designated as International Universal Health Coverage Day by the United Nations. In Sept 2019, in the backdrop of the United Nations General Assembly, there was a high-level meeting on UHC (UNHLM), where world leaders committed to advance UHC. In 2021, given the COVID-19 pandemic, UHC Day went virtual, calling for investments in health systems that protect everyone.