Government gives nod to National Health Policy

10 highlights of the new National Health Policy

"We can only talk on the direction in which government is and can move forward", Nadda said. It addresses health security and make in India for drugs and devices.

It said the country has gone through a significant transition in its health challenges and the policy is extremely "timely and appropriate". The Supreme Court in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v Union of India (1984) put down types of conditions necessary for the enjoyment of health - it held that the right to "protection of health" was subsumed within the right to live with human dignity, under Article 21 of the Constitution.

"The National Health Policy is certainly a step in the right direction". "It advocates a positive and proactive engagement with the private sector for critical gap filling towards achieving national goals".

The policy proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time bound manner. If you are not at the best of health, everything else suffers. The policy denotes important changes from very selective to comprehensive primary healthcare package which includes geriatric healthcare, palliative care and rehabilitative care services.

It aims to allocate major proportion of resources to primary care and intends to ensure availability of two beds per 1,000 population distributed in a manner to enable access within golden hour [the first hour after traumatic injury, when the victim is most likely to benefit from emergency treatment].

The policy assigns specific quantitative targets aimed at reduction of disease prevalence/incidence, for health status and programme impact, health system performance and system strengthening.

It seeks to establish a Public Health Management Cadre (PHMC) in all states. The proposed health policy was placed in public domain on December 30, 2014 for suggestions. Outlining some of the big differences between the 2017 policy and the 2002 one, Nadda said that there is a new focus on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) - which, at 39.1%, make up the bulk of India's disease burden - and a focus on wellness, including prevention and promotion of health, rather than focusing on "sick care". The broad principles of the policy are centred on Professionalism, Integrity and Ethics, Equity, Affordability, Universality, Patient Centred and Quality of Care, Accountability and pluralism. It also targets universal access to good quality healthcare services at affordable costs. Under the policy, there is a commitment to pre-emptive care to achieve optimum levels of child and adolescent health. There will also be a bigger focus on upgrading district hospitals. The policy recommends prioritising the role of the government in shaping health systems in all its dimensions.

The policy envisages a three dimensional integration of AYUSH systems by promoting cross referrals, co-location and integrative practices across systems of medicines, he said. It also entails introducing yoga much more widely in schools and workplaces.

With rural areas facing shortage of doctors, the policy also proposes creating medical colleges in rural areas apart from giving preference to students from under-serviced areas to attract them to the rural areas.

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