- National Health Policy proposes to raise health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP
- The Policy aims to reduce infant and under-5 mortality
- It recommends mainstreaming AYUSH health systems
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its nod to the National Health Policy 2017 assuring affordable healthcare facilities to all. The health policy has come after a gap of 15 years to address the emerging health challenges. The previous national health policy was launched in the year 2002.
Addressing the Lok Sabha, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda elaborated on the salient features of the policy.
“It’s a shift from the sick care to preventive and health promotion focused care,” said Health Minister JP Nadda describing the National Health Policy 2017.
“The policy is aimed at ensuring healthcare reaches all, particularly to the under-served and underprivileged. It aims to attain high levels of health and well-being to all ages through preventive and promotive healthcare system,” said the health minister in Lok Sabha.
The policy proposes to raise the public health expenditure from 1 per cent to 2.5 per cent of the GDP. In order to improve access, the policy proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency and essential healthcare services in all public hospitals. The policy also assigns quantitative targets aimed to reduce infant and under-5 mortality, reduce disease prevalence and increase life expectancy.
Through the policy, the Central government aims to meet the 90-90-90 HIV target by 2020. It also focuses on achieving and maintaining elimination status of Leprosy by 2018, Kala-Azar by 2017 and Lymphatic Filariasis in endemic pockets by 2017. The government also hopes to maintain at least an 85 per cent cure rate in new sputum positive patients for TB and to reach elimination by 2025.
“The policy also looks at reforms in the existing regulatory system both for easing manufacturing of drugs and devices to promote Make in India, as also for reforming medical education,” Mr Nadda added.
The policy has been lauded by WHO Director General Nominee Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus too. Speaking exclusively to NDTV, Dr Tedros said, “This shows the political commitment that is required to bring about universal health coverage. In many countries, we couldn’t bring universal health coverage, not because of the lack of resources, but because of the lack of political will.” However, he emphasized the need for health to be classified as a fundamental right and a developmental issue.
During his speech, Mr Nadda said that the policy aims to strengthen organisation and financing of healthcare services, investments in health, access to technology, human resource development, financial protection strategies and prevention of diseases and promotion of good health through cross-sectoral action.