Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PM JAY) which is popularly referred to as Ayushman Bharat is proving to be an elixir for lakhs of cancer patients in the country. Launched on 23rd September 2018, it is the world’s largest government sponsored health scheme catering to the health care requirements of the poorest sections of Indian society. More than three years into its operation, the scheme has started yielding desired results assuring affordable treatment and good health for the countrymen.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while virtually inaugurating the second campus of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI), Kolkata extolled the virtues of Ayushman Bharat and claimed that about 2.60 crore people including 17 lakh cancer patients have benefitted from the scheme so far. More than 50,000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras are selling medicines including 50 cancer drugs at affordable prices. Amrit Pharmacies are also selling costly cancer drugs at reasonable prices thereby significantly easing the financial burden on common mean inflicted due to expensive and prolonged medical treatment of diseases like cancer. The Prime Minister also noted that by regulating the price of around 500 drugs, the government ensured that the patients, especially the poor saved around Rs 3000 crore.
In a country like India which has a huge disease burden of non communicable life threatening diseases like cancer also has the dubious distinction of being a country with one of the highest per capita out of pocket health expenditure. Ayushman Bharat scheme is finally emerging as a much needed policy intervention which would not only reverse this trend but would also bolster the capacities of our healthcare system by providing affordable, equitable and quality health care for all citizens.