By Raju Vernekar
Pune, Dec. 6
The Union AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) Ministry is planning to set up 12,500 arogyavardhini centres through out the country to make available ayurveda treatment at cheaper rates, the Union Ayush minister Shripad Naik, said here.
Speaking as a chief guest at “Sandu Ayurved Gaurav awards” function organised to felicitate ayurveda practitioners, by “Sandu Brothers” at Annabhau Sathe auditorium, Bibwewadi, in Pune in Maharashtra, Naik said that his ministry is also planning to start short term courses for foreign students to learn yoga. This is under “learn in India” initiative, he added.
Also All India Institute of Yoga and Naturopathy will be set up at Goa in the next two years. Various initiatives, including setting up of Ayush departments in rural hospitals which have ayurvedic medicines and panchakarma facilities, to set up botanical gardens in and around Ayush hospitals in the country, are on cards, he said.
Five Ayurveda practitioners were felicitated with “Ayurved Bhushan” and “Ayurved Gaurav” for their contribution to Ayurveda, at the hands of Naik. The chief secretary of AYUSH department Rajesh Kotecha and Director of Maharashtra ayurved department Kuldeep Raj Kohli were present.
On the occasion, Medha Joshi, Vikram Chauhan, Anandkumar Chaudhari and Jyoti Mundargi were felicitated with “Ayurved Bhushan” while Omprakash Gupta was given the “Ayurved Gaurav” award.
“The ancient science was striving to get the mentorship of the rule, which was not coming across since the independence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by constituting Ministry of Ayush in 2014, gave its mentorship to the ayurveda and other streams like yoga, unani, siddha and homeopathy of medical science. We are thankful to him for the attempt,” Sashank Sandu, director, “Sandu Brothers” said in his speech. “Sandu Brothers” has been engaged in the manufacture of Ayurvedic medicines since 1899.
In the meanwhile the Ayushman Bharat Yojana - National Health Protection Scheme, which has now been renamed as Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), plans to make secondary and tertiary healthcare completely cashless. The PMJAY beneficiaries will get an e-card that can be used to avail services at an empanelled hospital, public or private, anywhere in the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out PMJAY on 23 September 2018 to cover about 50 crore citizens in India. As of September 2019, it was reported that 21,000 hospitals were empanelled, over 64 lakh beneficiaries were admitted and over 10 crore e-cards were issued. PMJAY is being implemented in 32 States and Union Territories. Based on the hospitalized cases so far, the treatment cost per hospitalization comes to Rs. 16108 compared to Rs.20135 estimated by the National Statistical Office (NSO). In order to cover 50 crore targeted poor, it is estimated that an amount of Rs. 23357 crore is required annually by the government, compared to the 2019-20 budget provision of Rs. 6400 crore.
The coverage includes 3 days of pre-hospitalisation and 15 days of post-hospitalisation expenses. Besides, around 1,400 procedures with all related costs like OT expenses are taken care of. All in all, PMJAY and the e-card provides a coverage of Rs. 5 lakh per family, per year, thus helping the economically disadvantaged obtain easy access to healthcare services.
Other steps to reduce out of pocket expenditure include i) regulating irrational drug prescriptions, diagnostic and drug prices, opening more PM Jan Aushadi Stores, providing services closer to the habitations of the poor, etc.
As per the report “Social Consumptions in India: Health” released on 23 November, by the NSO, based on a sample survey conducted from July 2017 to June 2018 covering about 1.14 lakh households across the country, 7.5 percent of the people suffered from ailments during 15 days preceding the date of survey. This means that during the said reference period of 15 days, over 10.1 crore people were ailing in India out of the total population of about 135 Crore. The average cost of ailment per, was estimated at Rs. 636 indicating that an amount of Rs. 6440 Crore was spent on the treatment in a 15 days period or about Rs. 157, 000 crore in a year.
The survey also estimated that 2.9 percent of the people were hospitalized during July 2017-June 2018, meaning that 3.92 crore hospitalizations occurred during this period. The estimated treatment cost per hospitalization estimated by the survey was Rs. 20135 indicating that an amount of about Rs. 79, 000 crore was spent on hospitalized treatments. The annual OPD and hospitalization treatment cost comes to a whopping Rs 2.36 lakh crores, (approximately 1.2 per cent of GDP).