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AIIMS Leads Discussion on the Vitality of Primary Health Care in India

Primary Health Care (PHC) stands as the bedrock of a robust healthcare system, offering accessible, affordable, and comprehensive healthcare for all. The Alma Ata Declaration of 1978 laid the groundwork for PHC's pivotal role, echoed in India's journey spearheaded by initiatives like the Bhore Committee in 1943 and subsequent endeavors such as the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the National Health Mission (NHM), and the Ayushman Bharat (AB) program launched in 2018.

The establishment of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in 1956 marked a significant milestone in India's healthcare landscape. Guided by the vision of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, the institute aimed to foster excellence across healthcare domains, with the Centre for Community Medicine (CCM) playing a vital role in producing public health professionals and community physicians.

AIIMS Ballabgarh Rural Centre, established in 1961, emerged as a beacon of exemplary primary healthcare delivery, earning acclaim at national and global levels. The center's comprehensive approach has inspired replication efforts by new AIIMS and other premier medical colleges.

A recent Post Graduate Continuing Medical Education (CME) event at AIIMS on "Revisiting Primary Health Care in India - Beyond Medicine" attracted participation from eminent speakers and public health experts from leading institutions. Chaired by Prof. S K Kapoor and Dr. Chandrakant S Pandav, the event delved into the intrinsic value of PHC in shaping a healthier society.

Dr. Kapoor emphasised PHC's inclusive, cost-effective approach to enhancing physical, mental, and social well-being, while Dr. Pandav underscored its role in empowering individuals and communities to manage their health proactively.

The discussions covered various facets of PHC, including community engagement, multisectoral policy integration, and essential public health functions. The Ayushman Arogya Mandir initiative was highlighted as a promising step towards comprehensive care, alongside efforts to address Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and promote preventive healthcare through vaccination.

Under the theme "Heal in India, Heal by India," the AIIMS Health Policy Dialogue featured esteemed dignitaries such as Dr. Vinod Paul, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, and Dr. M Srinivas. Dr. Khetrapal Singh stressed PHC's role in building resilient health systems, while Dr. Srinivas highlighted AIIMS' contributions to landmark PHC initiatives.

Dr. Paul emphasized the significance of accessible and effective PHC services in strengthening the nation's healthcare system, urging AIIMS to lead in establishing excellence in this domain.

The dialogue culminated in the release of an AIIMS Declaration titled "Revisiting the primary health care - Heal in India, Heal by India," endorsing the primacy of PHC and outlining key action points for its optimization, including enhanced community engagement, inter-sectoral collaboration, and increased investment in PHC.

As AIIMS reaffirms its commitment to advancing PHC, the declaration signifies a collective resolve to prioritize primary healthcare for a healthier and prosperous India.

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