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Home / Science / Health /  Now, govt plans to provide health IDs to newborns and kids

NEW DELHI : Newborn babies and young children will be issued their own Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) numbers, also known as health IDs, allowing parents to track their children’s health records.

The National Health Authority is developing a mechanism under which parents can generate ABHA numbers for their newborns and young children.

The ABHA number will enable parents to upload all personal health records from birth, as well as all healthcare benefits availed, ranging from public health programmes to insurance schemes.

Currently, only individuals above 18 years of age are entitled to enrol for ABHA cards.

To be sure, the central government runs several programmes and schemes, such as POSHAN Abhiyan, Reproductive and Child Health, and Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram, catering to young children and newborns.

These programmes monitor the development of children from birth and address child healthcare issues such as malnutrition and childhood obesity.

“The need was felt that parents should also get an opportunity to track their kid’s growth and development right from their birth. It was also observed that when a baby is born, he/she does not have any ID or document, and generating a birth certificate for a baby may take up to 30 days. Now, the idea is to enable parents to create an ABHA ID for their babies by integrating their own ABHA number with the system. This will empower parents to have access to their child’s health record and generate a longitudinal health history right from the birth of their baby," said a government official familiar with the matter, requesting anonymity.

In the later stage, the system will also accept the birth certificate of the child, along with other ID documents such as Bal Aadhaar, as and when those are available to the parents.

“Once a baby is born in a hospital, there are multiple vaccination sessions for baby and mother. In this case, we can track the health record of the mother and the baby as well. This will help a doctor to access their previous health records for the duo when they come back to the hospital again for follow-up checks," the official cited above said.

The provision will also be available to people without Aadhaar numbers and infants who do not have a name yet.

While the child’s ABHA will be linked to their parents’ number, only parents will have access to the health records of their children till the child turns 18.

NHA is likely to complete work on the project in the next few months.

Queries mailed to the Union health ministry’s spokesperson on Saturday evening remained unanswered at press time.

Any parent will be able to generate the ABHA number for their children from multiple sources such as the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) website, hospitals integrated with ABDM, Arogya Setu and Paytm apps and other ABDM compliant- healthcare providers and government health schemes.

“The objective is to take the benefits of ABHA to the last citizen and increase the penetration of ABHA, empowering people to have access to their personal health records on a mobile phone," said another government official.

“Currently, people have multiple ID documents, and this becomes problematic when it comes to the healthcare sector. Each hospital will have its own unique ID for its patients, irrespective of the public and private sector. And all of these systems have multiple health data for a person generated at those health facilities. Patients have to take all the physical files and documents to doctors. There are chances that sometimes patients can misplace these physical files. Therefore, ABHA (health ID) is envisioned to serve as an ID for a person across all healthcare ecosystems regardless of any public or private hospital or diagnostic labs, etc., wherein patients go to avail healthcare services," the official added.

So far, over 223 million ABHA Health IDs have been created under the ABDM scheme, which aims to support the integrated digital health infrastructure of the country.

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