Opinion

Message From Dr Harsh Vardhan

The Outlook campaign focusing on health, particularly that of women and children, will go a long way in building our community capacity in the fight against malnutrition, says Union minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

Message From Dr Harsh Vardhan
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I am pleased to learn that Outlook, one of India’s leading magazines, has launched an awareness campaign focusing on health—particularly that of women and children. The health of women and children is at the heart of policies and programmes in India. Women comprise about 48 per cent of India’s population, nearly half of us. And children are our future.  Needless to say, it is the well-being of women and children that finally determines the health of our nation.

India achieved the MDG Goal for reduction of maternal mortality and given the trend of decline in the past few years, we will achieve SDG goal of MMR (70) by 2025. The pace of decline in “under-five mortality rate”, will also enable us to achieve the SDG goal of U5MR (≤25).  These will be ahead of the timeframe of 2030 set for SDGs.

These declines resulted from systematic implementation of evidence-based interventions through robust health systems, aimed at universal coverage, ensuring equity and quality.

I would like to highlight two of these: the first is Mission Indradhanush—focused and targeted efforts to increase full immunisation coverage for every child. The second is SUMAN—Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan, aimed at eliminating preventable maternal and newborn deaths, and ass­ures universal access to high quality, respectful care, with zero tolerance for service denial. SUMAN is one more step in India’s progress towards ensuring health to all as part of universal healthcare.   

Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWC), which provide an expanded range of services are already showing that the presence of functional, close-to-community health facilities, offering a broader range of services, medicines and diagnostics, including those for non-communicable disease, play a key role in improving women’s and children’s  access to screening, prevention and  early detection of illness.  The AB-HWCs represent a major milestone in the provision of universal, free healthcare for all.

The National Digital Health Mission is intended to support integration of digital health infrastructure and create a digital health ecosystem in the country. Services such as iss­uance of health ID, creation of personal health records and the establishment of registries for doctors and health facilities are being created to enable continuum of care and red­uce out-of-pocket expenditures.

The National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis aims to ensure TB elimination in the country, five years ahead of the global timeline. This includes provision of incentives to ensure private sector practitioners for notification of TB cases, expanding the number of CBNAAT machines, introducing new drugs for MDR-TB, and an monthly entitlement of Rs 500 under the NIKSHAY Poshan Yojana to those getting treatment.

The government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been taking every possible step to overcome this challenge. However, every citizen must also join this battle in ensuring good health to everyone.

I believe the initiative by Outlook and Reckitt Benckiser will go a long way in building our community capacity. We need to be united in this fight. Wishing you all a healthy future.

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