May 21, 2024

New Delhi: India’s healthcare scheme Ayushman Bharat, which is the world’s largest health assurance scheme, can be adopted by not just Asian countries but also by the world, said Abhimanyu Saxena, head, Health System Strengthening, UNDP India.

In an interview, Saxena noted that the concept of digital health took a giant leap with the introduction of Ayushman Bharat Digital Health mission which was laying a very strong foundation for the evolution of digital health solutions.

“With the introduction of Ayushman Bharat Digital Health (ABDM), ABHA ID card which is a unique health ID for every citizen, it will be very easy for all the digital health schemes to share data and to complement each other. And this is something where India has and edge which other countries doesn’t have because because we are at the advanced age of digitization,” said Saxena.

UNDP and the Union health ministry are also working together on tuberculosis. Recently, the government initiated an adult Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination drive to prevent tuberculosis.

“UNDP is supporting by developing a solution called TB Win to track the beneficiaries who are getting these adult BCG vaccination doses. And this is in a study mode, but this study will help that how can adult vaccination can reduce TB burden in the country,” Saxena noted.

Talking about other health schemes, Saxena lauded the government’s achievement in integrating all vaccines under the universal immunization programme. 

“As far as India’s contribution in global healthcare scenario is concerned, it’s a wonderful feeling saving 150 million lives as India has one of the largest universal immunization program in the world and India has the highest vaccine manufacturing capacity in the world,” he added.

Promoting digitzation

Currently, UNDP’s target in India is to support the health ministry by pushing towards digitization of all the ongoing schemes. Saxena added that UNDP is working with the Centre to provide technical and implementation support to strengthen the immunization supply chain as well as immunization service table.

“We implemented the electronic vaccine intelligence network and we are working on digital health solutions. Developing digital health solution and implementing it till the last mile is equally important and when it comes to rural areas we see quite a lot of migration. Now, at the time of Covid vaccination, we facilitate a solution where anybody can be vaccinated anyway. The same is now getting replicated for routine vaccine, so any child, be it from J&K or Himachal Pradesh, can we vaccinated in Andaman and Nicobar Islands or Tamil Nadu because the country is following one single platform for vaccination,” Saxena stated.

However, going fully digital might not be that easy and Saxena noted that UNDP is helping the health ministry by getting Asha and Anganwadi workers as well as healthworkers familiar with the use of applications.

“We understand that there are remote pocketed pockets. That’s why we are developing solution which can work in offline manner, which has the capability to support multilingual languages which which can be easily operated with minimal transactions in place. So by this we we will be able to bridge the gap of reaching the difficult to reach areas and Tier 2 cities. With digitization, the real time stock availability, the quality of the vaccine, demand in areas can be easily tracked,” he stated.

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Published: 29 Apr 2024, 03:14 PM IST


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