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Yoga for diabetes & ayurveda for pregnant women: What Ayushman Bharat has in store

AYUSH Ministry has presented a detailed proposal to health ministry, seeking alternative treatments at health centres envisaged under Ayushman Bharat.

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New Delhi: Ayushman Bharat, the ambitious healthcare scheme of the Narendra Modi government, may soon offer patients an option to pursue alternative treatments such as ayurveda and yoga.

If a proposal moved by the Union Ministry for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) goes through, 10 per cent of the 1.25 lakh health and wellness centres envisaged under Ayushman Bharat will offer treatments from these schools as well.

This means that pregnant women seeking antenatal care can approach these centres for advice on regimens such as Garbhini Charya, an ayurvedic guide on food and lifestyle for a healthy childbirth, while diabetics can seek guidance on yoga to manage the disease.

The ministry had presented a detailed proposal on the matter before the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry and representatives of state governments in February, with an aim to prevent and treat common ailments such as anaemia, diabetes, and asthma, as well as mental illness.

It proposed AYUSH interventions in 12 healthcare categories, including pregnancy and childbirth, neonatal and infant care, family planning and contraception, management of communicable diseases, general outpatient care, and ophthalmic and ENT problems.

The centres, it suggested, could handle minor ailments such as morning sickness for pregnant women. After the birth of a child, the ministry said, these centres could provide massages for the newborns and afterbirth care for the mothers.

Presenting the proposal on 6 February, AYUSH Ministry secretary Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha said the centres could also cater to cases of burns and trauma, apart from screening and managing non-communicable diseases such as cancer.

“The implementation framework is in the final stages and state consultations are going on to finalise the locations (for the centres),” Kotecha told ThePrint.

Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik wrote to states last month, seeking their cooperation in the initiative.

“The support of the state government is very crucial at this stage… Your kind consent to take up the programme in your state is highly solicited,” he wrote.

“May I request you to advise the officers to initiate necessary follow-up which may include identification of medical centres for upgradations of HWCs (health and wellness centre) along with your implementation plan,” he added.

However, now that the Model Code of Conduct is in effect, any movement on this front will only happen when the next government comes to office.

Also read: How Narendra Modi’s Ayushman Bharat is fighting India’s health emergency

Role of health centres in Ayushman Bharat

Ayushman Bharat seeks to expand healthcare access through more health and wellness centres and medical insurance for the poor.

The first health and wellness centre under the scheme was inaugurated by PM Modi at Jangla in Chhattisgarh last April.

According to recent estimates of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, over 10,000 have been operationalised so far.

“The states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala lead the way with the highest number of HWCs under Ayushman Bharat,” the government said in a press release on 22 February.

“Andhra Pradesh has operationalised 1,361 HWCs, Tamil Nadu 1,318, UP 912, Karnataka 700 and Kerala 678 HWCs,” the government added.

Also read: Modi govt’s Ayushman Bharat not for common man but for insurance firms, says Congress


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