Shri J P Nadda chairs 12th Conference of the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare to discuss Draft National Health Policy
Govt. committed to providing affordable quality healthcare to people: J P Nadda
Shri Nadda stated that the purpose of the Council meeting was to seek feedback and suggestions from the States, experts and civil society organisations on the draft National Health Policy which has been placed in the public domain in 2015 and received close to 5000 suggestions, so as to improve its various dimensions in making it people-centric. He reiterated that the goal of the Draft National Health Policy is: The attainment of the highest levels of health and well being for all at all ages, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all development policies, and universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence . Pointing out that in alignment with the vision of Cooperative Federalism of the Prime Minister, the Health Minister added: ‘your suggestions, which represent the diversity and uniqueness of different parts of the country, are valuable to us and will lend meaning to this important National Policy which is being framed after 2002’. He said that the new National Health Policy is being framed in the era of the SDGs, and the deliberations at the Council will help in drawing a roadmap for the way forward. This was also important as we have now the challenge of the non-communicable diseases along with the communicable disease burden, he stated. It is important to pay shaper attention to promotive and preventive health, strengthen the healthcare infrastructure in the states covering the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, work out models of sustainable financing models to provide affordable healthcare, see how IT can be used to reach out to communities which are far flung and remote, and involve states more meaningfully in implementation of the schemes, Shri Nadda stated. The Union Health Minister also said that a framework of implementation will be drawn as part of the National Health Policy.
Speaking at the occasion, Shri B P Sharma noted that the consultation with the states and other stakeholders will provide rich inputs on improving the contours of the NHP. He stated that due emphasis has been placed on financing and increasing the budget outlay on health where 2/3rd of the outlay would be on the primary health sector; mainstreaming of AYUSH; reducing out-of-pocket expenditure; health insurance services; free drugs and diagnostics; improving secondary and tertiary care along with human resources at various levels with appropriate skills; strengthening regulatory frameworks for food and drugs; and providing patient-centric care at affordable rates.
Also present at the council meeting were Health Ministers from Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand. In addition, Dr. C P Thakur, former Health Minister and MP (RS) was also present. Along with Secretary (DHR) and Secretary (AYUSH), Health Secretaries from UP, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Tripura, and Administrator from Dadra and Nagar Haveli also participated in the Conference.
Some of the topics highlighted by the Health Ministers included integration of public and private healthcare services; enhancing awareness among masses for preventive health; addressing shortage of doctors and paramedic staff through opening more medical colleges in the public sector, enhancing their skills through periodic refresher courses; convergence among related Ministries covering education, drinking water and sanitation, food security to address malnutrition; strengthening research in new and emerging diseases; timely payment of remuneration to health workers; equipping PHCs and CHCs with latest technology; health assurance through provisioning of drugs, diagnostics and emergency services; making MCI norms flexible for setting up medical colleges in hilly terrains; work out innovative models for health insurance schemes to reduce OOP; and set up research institutions that would study epidemiology of diseases to provide data for evidence-based policymaking.
The resolution adopted at the close of the Council meeting stated:
Recognizing that the health needs of the country have changed over time since the last National health Policy and to address the need to improve the performance of the health system, a Draft National Health Policy has been formulated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
Acknowledging that the Draft National Health Policy has been formulated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in consultation with the State Governments and the Civil Society at large.
The Central Council for Health and Family Welfare broadly endorses the Draft National Health Policy.