Shillong, December 20: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma today launched the Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) in convergence with Megha Health Insurance Phase IV at a function held at Yojana Bhavan, Main Secretariat, Shillong.
Minister for Health and Family Welfare, A.L. Hek and Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh were also present at the function along with officials from concerned departments.
Addressing the gathering the Chief Minister said the convergence scheme would ensure that each and every citizen in the State is covered under the health insurance scheme and it would benefit the people immensely.
“The MHIS is a good initiative taken up by the government in the past three years. It is important as it is inclusive and addresses the healthcare needs of the people”, the Chief Minister said.
Stating that improvement of the health sector is a top priority for the government the Chief Minister urged all stakeholders to have proactive participation to ensure quality and accessible health care reach the people especially the rural population.
“We need improvement in many areas especially when it comes to rural healthcare. We are looking at ways on how we can work with the private sectors to achieve our objective of providing better services to the people”, the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister also expressed hope that the medical colleges coming up in the State would be able to address the issue of man power shortage in the future.
Stressing the importance of public awareness on healthy lifestyle practices and preventive measures the Chief Minister told the gathering that the government is keen to initiate a 100 day awareness program on women’s health issues starting early next year.
“Besides infrastructure and medical treatment, awareness on preventive measures is equally important”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion Health Minister, A.L. Hek said that under MHIS Phase IV the coverage has been increased to Rs. 5 lakhs per household from the previous 2.8 lakhs. In order to ensure accessibility and inclusive coverage, e-cards will be provided to all the beneficiaries instead of one card per household in the previous phases of implementation.
During his address Dr. Indu Bhushan, CEO, National Health Agency, said that Ayushman Bharat scheme formally launched on the 25th of September this year would help in reducing out pocket expenditure on medical expenses and reduce impoverishment due to expenditure on healthcare.
“The scheme will not only reduce poverty but also improve the quality of health services both in the public and private sector. The scheme will facilitate improved access to health care and increase overall health status in the country”, he said.
Lauding the launch of the convergence scheme Dr. Bhushan mentioned that Meghalaya was at the forefront of innovations in the health insurance scheme providing comprehensive health coverage to all its citizens.
Pravin Bakshi, Secretary Health & Family Welfare Department and CEO MHIS, informed the gathering that 3.47 lakh beneficiaries belonging to the Socio Economic Caste Census category as defined under the Ministry of Rural Development, GOI, will be covered under the PMJAY while the remaining, amounting to around 7 lakh beneficiaries, will be covered by the State Government under the MHIS phase IV health insurance scheme.
During the function e-cards were distributed to the beneficiaries and awards were also handed to the achievers of MHIS phase III scheme implementation.