Home / Science / Health /  Govt to use Ayushman Bharat to trace potential covid-19 patients

NEW DELHI: The Centre's plan to track beneficiaries of its flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme may help it find potential covid-19 patients and thus contain the the infection in rural areas.

A massive movement of migrant labourers back to their towns and villages amid the lockdown has put population in India's hinterland at the risk of the contagion.

"In rural India, it has now become very important to find out potential covid-19 patients. The young labourers who may be carrying the infection after coming from hotspots will have high chances of recovery from the disease due to their age or good immunity. But the major threat remains to their family members residing in villages who may be old, weak or with compromised immunity," said Dr Jugal Kishore, member of the government’s rapid response team for covid-19, and head, department of community medicine, Safdarjung Hospital.

Officials of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB- PMJAY) have been tracing high-risk beneficiaries who call up call centres enquiring about covid-19 symptoms such as breathlessness, fever, tastelessness etc. As of Thursday, the government said, at least 1,303 beneficiaries had been asked to consult a doctor after they described their symptoms.

At least 80% of the 10.74 crore PMJAY beneficiary families are located in rural India, with 1,05,000 beneficiaries in the red zone and 2,50,000 beneficiaries in the orange zone, the National Health Authority (NHA) the nodal agency for implementing AB-PMJAY said.

According to the latest data available with the NHA, 243 of these cases required further action and have been shared with states and union territories, 153 have been recommended home quarantine, 25 hospitalisation, and 65 were asked to undergo testing.

"Our health registry has helped us identify high risk group for covid-19. We are keeping in touch with them to ensure that they know what precautions to take, and to support them if they need help. Early identification and quick treatment are critical for reducing mortality of covid-19," said Dr Indu Bhushan, chief executive officer of AB-PMJAY.

The NHA call centre so far has made around 7,54,000 calls to around 3,80,000 unique beneficiaries vulnerable for covid-19. Interestingly, the call centre executives have flagged an additional 257 cases as non-covid based health emergencies.

Rajasthan is doing something similar.

The state government recently launched Mission Life Saving (LiSa) to combat covid-19 and has been tracing high-risk patients through Jan Aadhar database, Mahatma Gandhi Ayushman Bharat Rajasthan Bima Yojana database (claims), voter list, elderly pension scheme database, and ration card data.

It had, as of Wednesday, 1,381 samples for testing from hotspots. "Containment in the major outbreak areas is our top most priority but saving lives is equally important for us. Government of Rajasthan has a long history of implementing public health insurance scheme and this has led to generation of data as well," said Rohit Kumar Singh, additional chief secretary (medical and health), Rajasthan.

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