New Delhi, Mar 14 (PTI) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has termed the ‘Ayushman Bharat’, the government’s mega healthcare initiative, as a bold and ambitious move that has the potential improve health and move people out of poverty.

Delivering a special address on ‘Universal Health Coverage’ to a gathering at NITI Aayog today, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it is essential to educate people at the primary level about health and well-being.

“Announcement of Ayushman Bharat is bold, ambitious & courageous. The NHPS has the potential to not only improve health but also lift people out of poverty,” the think tank quoted the WGO DG as saying in a tweet.

“To make progress in the health sector or the AyushmanBharat, the involvement of the community is essential. That’s the only way it can happen,” he said.

NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar said the 3Cs – ‘Constant Communication to Communities’ – will be the Aayog’s guiding goals as the country has set out an ambitious journey to improve healthcare in India.

Kumar also said several steps have been taken by NITI Aayog to improve real-time monitoring, even at the district levels.

The Ayushman Bharat programme was announced in the general budget this year.

The government had announced, as a part of ‘Ayushman Bharat’, two path-breaking initiatives that address health holistically, impacting primary, secondary and tertiary care system as well as prevention and health promotion.

These included opening of 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres to provide people-centric comprehensive primary healthcare including for common non-communicable diseases closer to the homes of people, including providing free essential drugs and diagnostics.

The second initiative under ‘Ayushman Bharat’ is the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), under which over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approx. 50 crore beneficiaries) will be provided treatment coverage up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.