As a part of its multistate Capacity Assistance Program to strengthen the implementation of government sponsored health insurance schemes in India, ACCESS Health International recently facilitated collaboration among departments of the Government of Uttar Pradesh, in a bid to increase the utilization of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana in the state. In partnership with the State Health Agency and Department of Health and Family Welfare, ACCESS Health supports the implementation of the AB-PMJAY in the state. [1]

Uttar Pradesh recently underwent the Gram Pradhan [2] elections and to take advantage of this opportunity, ACCESS Health recommended and mediated collaboration between the State Health Agency and the Department of Rural Development. The idea behind the partnership is to use the elected Gram Pradhan at the village level to advocate for and reach out to the 58 percent families unidentified under the PMJAY scheme. Panchayati Raj Institution[3] (PRI) within the Department of Rural Development is a closely knit government functionary with established and well-connected state, district, block, and village level machinery linked with other government agencies including health department and non-governmental agencies.  

To further deepen and strengthen interdepartmental synergies, ACCESS Health is supporting partnerships with other entities under the Department of Rural Development such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the National Health Mission, State Rural Livelihood Mission, Department of Medical Education and Department of Primary and Middle Education. 

To ensure scale and augment PMJAY in the state of UP, it is imperative to encourage inter departmental synergies. Interdepartmental synergies are critical to judicially use the available infrastructure, manpower and established systems to penetrate the community. One of the ways to increase awareness, enrollment and utilization of the scheme is to collaborate with and utilize the role of community representatives to not only prompt ownership but also, bring accountability toward the insurance programs. It is envisaged that, through interdepartmental synergies, PMJAY will be able to reach the last mile and benefit the community at large.

Under the initiative, ACCESS Health spearheaded a training program for District Panchayati Raj Officers (DPRO’s) from PRI. DPROs are the bridging channels between the field and state level functionaries. DPROs in direct contact with Gram Pradhans,  the community representatives, are now to be used for their role and responsibilities to disseminate information and bring awareness about public schemes, increase enrollment and increase the utilization by channelizing information about the scheme, mobilizing the community and engaging field level entities such as ration shops[4], common service centres and village level activities. 

By Manisha Tripathi

For more information contact manisha.tripathi@accessh.org

[1] In UP, PMJAY aims to provide financial protection to cover the cost for secondary and tertiary care treatment through its empaneled hospitals to close to 11.8 million (1.18 Crore) poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational categories of urban workers’ families. 

[2] A Gram Pradhan is a decision-maker, elected by the village-level constitutional body of local self-government called the Gram Sabha (village government) in India.

[3] Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) is a system of rural local self-government in India

[4] Subsidized grocery shops used by government for distribution of food grains under Public Distribution System