Mann Ki Baat A Tool for Building a Healthy India
The PM has touched several specific topics related to health, from tuberculosis to Kala-azar and from swachhata (hygiene) to holistic health. He also talked about the sensitive issue of mental health, encouraging people to have open conversation and help those in a difficult mental state.
Health and development are intertwined — only healthy citizens can contribute to the overall growth of a nation. Our government, under the leadership of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, is committed to this ideal, and has worked relentlessly to make India’s healthcare system future-ready. The government has undertaken deep structural and sustained reforms to strengthen the health care sector and also implemented conducive strategies to achieve saturation-level coverage nationwide.
Today, the focus is on health and wellness, rather than just treating the sick. A number of schemes have been rolled out by the government to boost India’s health care ecosystem. The number of medical colleges has risen 69% since 2014. Of the proposed 22 new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences, 19 are operational. Over 350 million citizens’ digital health accounts (ABHA) have been created. Telemedicine has seen mainstream adoption, with 110 million patients served under e-Sanjeevani. Under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (HWC) initiative, 156,000 sub-centres (SCs) and primary health centres (PHCs) have undergone a transformation.
The value of all schemes is only realised by their last-mile delivery. This requires proactive ownership and participation of the people. In this regard, the PM has optimally tapped into the potential of radio to engage the masses through Mann Ki Baat, which over the years has had a massive impact in building a healthy nation. In addition, he has used the address to spread awareness about government health schemes and how they benefited millions of people, particularly in rural areas.
I remember the PM interacting with the beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat, who expressed gratitude for making quality health care affordable. Such interactions play a crucial role in boosting the confidence of potential beneficiaries, propelling India’s dream of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) forward. The PM’s announcement of reduced cost of stent implantation and knee surgery, and provision of insurance of ₹5 lakh for treatment to about 100 million families, was heard far and wide. Today, the Ayushman Bharat scheme has facilitated access to health care services for over 48 million individuals.
When the Union government launched the Poshan Abhiyaan in 2018, the PM called for a Jan Andolan (people’s movement) to improve nutritional indicators among children and mothers. Since then, many self-help groups and anganwadi centres have found unique and targeted solutions to free children of malnutrition and stunting. When initiatives such as Project Sampoorna from Assam and Poshan Matka from Madhya Pradesh found a mention in Mann Ki Baat, many other state organisations replicated similar models.
India has a long history of traditional medicine. The government has taken several steps to promote AYUSH systems in prevention, wellness and treatment. Mann Ki Baat conversations have been instrumental in generating awareness about our traditional health care systems. This has contributed to heightened demand for holistic health care and a massive increase in the use of AYUSH products.
A very empowering impact of Mann Ki Baat was observed during the pandemic. From eliciting people’s cooperation in wearing masks and social distancing, acknowledging the efforts of frontline workers, to encouraging people to get vaccinated, Mann Ki Baat proved its mettle as a harbinger of hope, resolve and confidence. The PM provided strong and decisive leadership. He used the platform to make a personal connection with the people as a caring elder of the family.
Mann Ki Baat has become a powerful tool for building national solidarity for a healthy India. The PM has touched several specific topics related to health, from tuberculosis to Kala-azar and from swachhata (hygiene) to holistic health. He also talked about the sensitive issue of mental health, encouraging people to have open conversation and help those in a difficult mental state.
In a recent episode, the PM talked about organ transplantation and inspired citizens to do more to promote it. His poignant conversation with two families whose kin donated organs to give life to others brought tears to my eyes. People have found a friend and a guiding voice in the PM. When he calls for health promotion and care through Mann Ki Baat, the nation truly listens and acts.