Punjab has achieved 1st rank in operationalisation of Health & Wellness Centers (HWCs) as per the latest ranking of states released by the Government of India. This scheme was launched in the state in the year 2019.
Disclosing this here today, the Health & Family Welfare Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu said that despite restrictions on the movement of people due to COVID-19 pandemic led lockdown, HWCs across Punjab recorded 28.1 lakh footfalls in the last five months. The OPD services, RCH services, preventive and curative clinical services for communicable and non-communicable diseases are being provided at these centers by HWC team including Community Health Officer (CHO) along with Multi-Purpose Workers (male and female) & ASHAs. 27 Essential drugs and 6 diagnostic services were being provided free of cost at these centers.
Mr. Sidhu said that under the visionary guidance of Chief Minister Punjab Capt. Amarinder Singh, Punjab would soon become the leading State in the Health sector as the state government has taken the pro-people initiative to further strengthen the health infrastructure. He said that currently, 2042 HWCs are operational across the state. Total 1600 Community Health Officers have been appointed at HWCs and 823 more candidates will be appointed as CHOs by the end of this year after the completion of bridge course. No stone would be left unturned to upgrade the essential Primary Health services in rural areas of State.
The Minister said that apart from this, in the last five months, 6.8 lakh individuals were screened at the HWCs for hypertension, 4 lakh for diabetes and 6 lakh for oral, breast or cervical cancer. Medicines were dispensed at the HWCs to about 2.4 lakh patients of hypertension and 1.4 lakh diabetes patients, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Lauding the efforts being made by HWCs teams, he said that leading from the front, HWC staffers are also taking samples of COVID suspected patients. HWC team regularly visits the people who had been asked to quarantine themselves in houses, to track down appearance of symptoms and to check if people were following the instructions given to them. They are also involved in contact tracing of COVID positive patients.
Dr. Areet Kaur, HWCs State Programme Officer said that telemedicine services were also being provided at Health and wellness centers from month of March 2020. A telemedicine Hub has been established in sector 11, Chandigarh with 4 Medical officers. Under this initiative, the Community Health Officers at HWC/sub-center level connects with Medical officers at the hub through video calling. The Medical officer at the hub examines the patient via virtual platform and prescribes medicines as per the signs and symptoms. CHO then dispenses the medicines to the patient, based on the prescription received through e Sanjeevani. Till date, about 5000 tele-consultations have been done.