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Health care and Indias new policy

The government has announced a new National Health Policy (2017)  to galvanize the Indian health system  to deliver health and well-being to all by 2030. This will also help the country to meet its Sustainable Development Goal on health. There are several challenges and sustained efforts would be required to overcome them.  The Centre and the States needs to exhibit a close coordination together  for operational amplification and effective implementation  of its decisions. Building a  path for Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the National Health Policy espouses  strengthening the public sector, drawing upon the different sectors of health-care providers characterizing Indian health system and the diverse systems of medicine.

The  need for increasing the level of public financing for health is acknowledged in the policy in its observation that the government must spend 2.5% of GDP by 2025. There is a promise to double public financing over next eight years  which must be reflected in year-on-year Union budgets. Free drugs, emergency and diagnostic services would be provided to all in public hospitals. Primary health care will be prioritised.

Public services would be strenghtened to provide secondary and tertiary health care inviting participation from private providers as well. A capitation  fee model  has been proposed for primary health care and a  fee for service  system  for secondary and tertiary care.  District hospitals  and Sub-district hospitals need to be upgraded for providing tertiary care alongside secondary care.  A National Health Information Network and National Digital Health Authority also would be established by 2025. Shortages of skilled human resources in the health system need to be overcome by expanding  institutional capacity.

High priority will be accorded to control of indoor and outdoor air pollution  with nutrition, sanitation and water. It will now depend on how the country is able to strengthen the public sector,   partnering private sector, and expand the health workforce to reach every section of the population.

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