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India

Goal is health coverage for all: Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said the government would take steps to ultimately provide universal health coverage to all citizens, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after ensuring proper implementation of the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

During the Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, Mr. Vardhan said the scheme’s immediate focus was to extend coverage to 10.8 crore households. While the government was plugging all the loopholes to make it “robust and perfect”, it was also exploring ways to expand it further.

Ayushman Bharat cards have so far been issued to more than eight crore people, who can avail of the scheme in over 16,000 hospitals across the country. of these, around 8,000 were from the public sector, he said to a query.

To a question, the Minister said the government’s target was to set up 1.50 lakh health and wellness centres, of which 20,000 were already functional and 20,000 more would become operational by March next year.

Mr. Vardhan, in reply to another query, said that of the more than 16,000 hospitals, around 8,000 were from the public sector. About 1,383 packages for different types of diseases and procedures, with fixed rates, had been made available.

“Till now, almost 32.5 lakh people have already availed this facility within the last eight months. I think this is probably one of the most ambitious and successful programmes of recent times, not only in India, but all over the world. It is totally IT-driven,” he said.

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