Health has eminence over every other necessity in life and providing free medical care to people is the greatest welfare measure of mankind.

In order to provide this needful welfare measure to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the SEHAT scheme was launched in convergence with Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).

The AB-PMJAY was launched by Central Government in the year 2018 to provide free health services to economically weaker sections of country. In Jammu and Kashmir, the benefits of the scheme were extended to all the persons of Union Territory under SEHAT scheme. The scheme provides health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year to all the residents at empanelled hospitals. The scheme covers up to three days of pre-hospitalization and fifteen days post-hospitalization expenses including diagnostics and medicines.

Bashir Ahmad, a carpenter from Old town Baramulla, suffered heart attack and was shifted to territory care hospital at Srinagar where doctors suggested for surgery. “The procedure cost was expensive for us,” said Bashir’s wife. She added that if they had not obtained Golden card, they would have faced lot of trouble. “Golden card saved life of my husband”, she said.

Not only Bashir there are several other patients who have got the benefit from the golden card. The people from weaker sections of society who cannot afford better health care facilities and treatment in government or private health care institutions have benefitted from the golden card.

A patient, Manzoor Ahmad from Baramulla district recently went through an open heart surgery at SKIMS Srinagar. This surgery was possible only due to the benefits provided under the scheme.

Health being a fundamental human right is a significant indicator for all humans to live a better quality life and J&K is taking a lead in this direction. As per the data released by National Health Agency (NHA), J&K figures amongst the top five States/UTs with highest number of Ayushman Cards generated in the last six months. As per the data, J&K generated 19 Lakh Ayushman Cards in the last six months which makes it best performing State/UT.

The J&K Administration is making constant efforts to upgrade the health infrastructure here and in order to provide better health services under SEHAT scheme, several new private hospitals have been empanelled by State Health Agency (SHA) to extend better health services to locals. This addition of healthcare institutes in J&K is a step towards expanding and building a strong network of hospitals and health services.

Moreover, Governing Council of SHA recently approved the migration on Health Benefit Package issued by National Health Authority wherein rates of various packages have been enhanced. This will suffice the long pending demand of private hospitals for enhancing the package rates and will boost the sustainability of private sector.

In addition, to percolate the benefits of the scheme down to the last prospective beneficiary, the SHA has embarked on a unique initiative ‘Gaon Gaon Ayushman’. The Ayushman’. The move aims at providing Golden Cards to the entire population within shortest period of time. To ensure all eligible beneficiaries are registered under the scheme, camps are set-up for on spot registration of beneficiaries by a network of more than 8000 Common Service Centres (CSCs). The virtual learning environment (VLE) are being stationed in villages for ensuring 100% registration and awareness activities at grassroots level in association with PRI representatives and ASHA workers. The SHA trained and also did handholding of these CSCs.

To reach the target population, campaigns in terms of installation of hoardings at empanelled hospitals, Camps through ASHA workers and other ground level workers were held to disseminate the word about the benefits of the scheme with active involvement of religious institutions.

In J&K, the importance of scheme can well be gauged by those who suffered in the past due to inaccessibility to medical care due to economic conditions. In this regard, Government’s sincere efforts ought to be applauded for making strenuous efforts in covering most population of the UT accompanied by commendable job by the field staff associated with the administration for reaching to far off places in J&K. Jammu and Kashmir, with a lot of demographical disadvantages and many inaccessible areas devised innovative practices to reach to the last mile.

For the successful implementation of scheme, J&K has received recognition several times. SKOCH order-of-merit award for innovative implementation of Ayushman Bharat in the month of February 2019 was granted to J&K. SHA, J&K also received 1st prize in Learning and Space Sharing event of Arogya Manthan organized by NHA. J&K has also been appreciated by National Health Authority for noteworthy accomplishments with Home Minister appreciating himself on the floor of the Parliament

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