Centre to expand diagnostic services in Arogya Mandir

The prime reason behind improving the diagnostic services in the wellness centres is to reduce the burden of patient load in hospitals and get as many patients treated in these wellness centres.

Centre to expand diagnostic services in Arogya Mandir

THE Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry is now planning to expand the diagnostic services available in its health and wellness centre named Ayushman Arogya Mandir, according to two officials aware of the matter.

The prime reason behind improving the diagnostic services in the wellness centres is to reduce the burden of patient load in hospitals and get as many patients treated in these wellness centres.

"Many patients visit the hospitals to get diagnostic services, which is time-consuming and also increases the load of hospitals. Therefore, the plan is to cut down that pressure and provide best of the diagnostic services in Arogya Mandirs so that they don't have to rush to hospitals. Also, an initial study of the patient's disease can help them to get directed for further reference in a better way, doctors will see the report at Arogya Mandir and guide them on which hospital to visit or which doctor to consult," said a senior official from the ministry.

The Ayushman Bharat flagship programme has two components - health and wellness centres (HWCs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). Last year in November, the health and wellness centres were renamed as Arogya Mandir. In February 2018, the government of India announced the creation of 1,50,000 health and wellness centres (HWCs) by transforming the existing sub-centres and primary health centres. These centres are to deliver comprehensive primary health care (CPHC) bringing healthcare closer to the homes of people.

"For the expansion of diagnostic services, we are also focusing on local manufacturers to come up with their devices. Because transport of such heavy machines is a task, especially in rural belts or regions with poor connectivity. This will also boost the Make in India," the official noted.

The wellness centres which were renamed as Arogya Mandir last year are envisaged to deliver an expanded range of services that include maternal and child health care services to include care for non-communicable diseases, palliative and rehabilitative care, oral, eye and ENT care, mental health and first level care for emergencies and trauma, including free essential drugs and diagnostic services.

To have as many of these centres of public health institutions accredited by 2026, the facilities are being pushed to go through the National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS) evaluation and certification process.

"The concept is to provide a holistic healthcare facility and not mere treatment of ailments. So, the plan is also to encourage and expand activities offered by the all-inclusive primary health care and wellness package such as yoga, Zumba, meditation, nutrition and lifestyle counselling, cyclothons, marathons, yearly health days, and more," the official noted.

As per the health ministry data, the Ayushman Arogya Mandir saw a footfall of over 2 billion till the end of September last year.

The Ayushman Arogya Mandir provides screening for various diseases including hypertension so far 485.8 million people have been screened, 421.7 million screened for diabetes and 287 million screened for oral cancer, 131.6 million screened for breast cancer, 89.3 million screened for cervical cancer, said the ministry data.

Last year, the ministry announced that various steps have been taken to increase the number of outpatients in Ayushman Arogya Mandir such as connecting these centres through e-Sanjeevani Tele-Consultation to provide specialist consultation in case of need and ensuring continuity of care through appropriate referrals and optimal home and community follow-up.