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Government to Include ASHA and Anganwadi Workers/Helpers in Ayushman Bharat Scheme

The government is preparing to extend the benefits of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme to Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Anganwadi workers/helpers. This initiative aims to provide free health coverage to these essential healthcare workers, aligning with the broader goals of the AB-PMJAY scheme.

Progress and Implementation Timeline

  • The Health Ministry has received Aadhaar details of 23 lakh anganwadi workers/helpers and over three lakh ASHA workers from various states.
  • Health Secretary Apurva Chandra has stated that the government aims to have their cards ready by the end of the month, coinciding with the scheme’s commencement on March 1.

Scope and Coverage of Ayushman Bharat

  • The AB-PMJAY scheme offers health coverage up to ₹5 lakh per family annually to impoverished and vulnerable families.
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the decision to include ASHAs and Anganwadi workers/helpers during the presentation of the interim Union Budget 2024-25.

Significance of ASHA Program

  • ASHA workers play a crucial role as facilitators, mobilizers, and providers of community-level care.
  • They are integral to various community platforms and have significantly contributed to improving access to healthcare services, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statistics and Coverage Figures

  • As of December 31, 2023, there were over 13 lakh Anganwadi workers and over 10 lakh anganwadi helpers in India.
  • The country has 9.83 lakh ASHAs, making it the world’s largest community volunteer program.

Ayushman Bharat Scheme Performance

  • Currently, 55 crore individuals from 12 crore families are covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.
  • The government has issued approximately 28.45 crore Ayushman cards as of December 20, 2023, and authorized 6.11 crore hospital admissions, amounting to ₹78,188 crores.

Hospital Empanelment and Gender Equity

  • A total of 26,901 hospitals, including 11,813 private hospitals, have been empaneled under AB-PMJAY.
  • The scheme ensures gender equity in access to healthcare services, with women constituting approximately 49% of Ayushman cardholders and 48% of authorized hospital admissions.

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