Ayushman Bharat: Bihar Issues Over 1 Crore Health Cards in 6 Days

The Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) has issued more than 1 crore health cards in Bihar during a six-day special campaign that concluded on March 8.

Syed Hassan Kazim
New Update

In a remarkable feat, the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) has issued more than 1 crore health cards in Bihar during a six-day special campaign that concluded on March 8. This initiative, led by the NDA government in the state, underscores the commitment to providing free medical treatment, up to Rs 5 lakh annually, to all ration cardholders under the Ayushman scheme.


Statewide Impact:


Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Chaudhary hailed the achievement, stating that the issuance of Ayushman Bharat cards to 1.03 crore families in just six days is a monumental accomplishment for the state government. The initiative aims to benefit all ration cardholders covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), ensuring 5 kg of rice and free medical treatment up to Rs 5 lakh every year.


District-wise Breakdown:


The state health department's data reveals the significant impact of the campaign, with Siwan district leading the way by issuing 5,99,609 cards. Other districts that actively participated include Muzaffarpur, Patna, and Madhubani. Even in districts with fewer cards issued, such as Munger, Kishanganj, Sheikhpura, and Sheohar, the campaign contributed to the overall success.


Inclusive Decision by Bihar Cabinet:


The Bihar cabinet took a significant step in February by extending the benefits of the Ayushman Bharat scheme to all ration cardholders in the state. This decision reflects a commitment to providing comprehensive healthcare coverage to a broader section of the population.


Women's Role in Ayushman Bharat:


Recent data indicates a positive shift in women's healthcare participation under AB-PMJAY. Women now account for nearly 48% of authorized hospitalizations, showcasing a significant increase in their utilization of the scheme. Top officials from the National Health Authority (NHA) emphasized that since its launch in 2018, 6.5 crore hospitalizations have occurred under the scheme, with women accounting for 3.2 crore hospitalizations.


Utilization Patterns and Specialties:


Scheme utilization by women beneficiaries has surpassed that of men in 10 states/UTs, including Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Jharkhand, Tripura, and J&K. Furthermore, NHA documents highlight that women have utilized certain specialties more than men, such as cancer (56%), ophthalmology (54%), otorhinolaryngology or ENT-related (51%), and neonatal care packages (57%).


ASHA and Aanganwadi Workers' Contribution:


Enrollment under AB-PMJAY is facilitated by thousands of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Aanganwadi workers across states/UTs. Their role, along with women's substantial presence as healthcare providers at local units (AB-Health Wellness Centres), has played a pivotal role in increasing scheme utilization among women.


Individual Enrollment: A Game-Changer for Women's Healthcare:


The introduction of individual enrollment under AB-PMJAY marks a significant departure from the previous Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), where only one card was issued per family. This change has empowered women by providing individual Ayushman cards to each family member covered under the scheme, eliminating dependence and facilitating independent health-seeking behavior among women.


Enrollment Statistics:


As of now, nearly 32 crore beneficiaries have been enrolled under the scheme and issued Ayushman cards. The involvement of ASHAs in the last two years has resulted in issuing 20 crore cards, showcasing the positive impact of community-driven healthcare initiatives.


The success of the Ayushman Bharat scheme in Bihar, coupled with increased women's participation, signals a transformative era in healthcare accessibility and a comprehensive and inclusive healthcare system taking root in the country.