A new centrally sponsored scheme, called PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, meant to strengthen and revolutionize the health system of the country has received a green light from the Union cabinet on Wednesday, opening up new horizons to address the health issues in a holistic manner.

PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMASBY) scheme was announced on 1st February 2021, in the Budget speech of FY 21-22 with an outlay of about Rs.64,180 Crore over six years (till FY 25-26). This will be in addition to the National Health Mission.

Here are the main interventions under the scheme to be achieved by FY 25-26:

  • Support for 17,788 rural Health and Wellness Centres in 10 High Focus States
  • Establishing 11,024 urban Health and Wellness Centres in all the States.
  • Setting up of Integrated Public Health Labs in all districts and 3382 Block Public Health Units in11 High Focus states;
  • Establishing Critical Care Hospital Blocks in 602 districts and 12 Central Institutions;
  • Strengthening of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), its 5 regional branches and 20 metropolitan health surveillance units;
  • Expansion of the Integrated Health Information Portal to all States/UTs to connect all public health labs;
  • Operationalisation of 17 new Public Health Units and strengthening of 33 existing Public Health Units at Points of Entry, that is at 32 Airports, 11 Seaports, and 7 land crossings;
  • Setting up of 15 Health Emergency Operation Centres and 2 mobile hospitals; and
  • Setting up a national institution for One Health, a Regional Research Platform for WHO southeast Asia Region, 9 Biosafety Level III laboratories, and 4 regional National Institutes for Virology.

According to the concerned authorities, the measures under the scheme primarily focus on developing capacities of health systems and institutions across the continuum of care at all levels viz. primary, secondary and tertiary and on preparing health systems in responding effectively to the current and future pandemics and disasters.

The PMASBY also targets to build an IT enabled disease surveillance system across the country by developing a network of surveillance laboratories at block, district, regional and national levels, in Metropolitan areas & strengthening health units at the Points of Entry, for effectively detecting, investigating, preventing and combating Public Health Emergencies and Disease Outbreaks. This comes amid a rising number of viral infections and outbreaks in different parts of the country.

The increased investments are also targeted to support research on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, including biomedical research to generate evidence to inform the short-term and medium-term response to COVID-19 like pandemics and to develop core capabilities to deliver the One Health Approach to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks in animals and humans.

The scheme certainly looks good on paper and has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare system of the country. Now, it’s all about the implementation part, let’s hope that it gets implemented in the right way and at the right time.

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