Health Policy to hike health spending to 2.5% of GDP: JP Nadda

Health Policy to hike health spending to 2.5% of GDP: JP Nadda

It seeks to ensure improved access and affordability of quality secondary and tertiary care services through a combination of public hospitals and strategic purchasing in healthcare deficit areas from accredited non-governmental healthcare providers, achieve significant reduction in out of pocket expenditure due to healthcare costs, reinforce trust in public healthcare system and influence operation and growth of private healthcare industry as well as medical technologies in alignment with public health goals. The Cabinet will also be addressing issues like infant mortality, a move already initiated by making diagnostics & drugs free for the public healthcare system.

"A common entrance exam is advocated on the pattern of NEET for UG entrance at All India level, a common national-level Licentiate or exit exam for all medical and nursing graduates, a regular renewal at periodic intervals with Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits accrued, are important recommendations", it said.

The new policy comes after 15 years since the last policy was introduced in 2002.

The other key highlight of the Policy is its attempt to empower patients by setting up tribunals where patients can seek redressal of grievances over treatment.

The National Health Policy was drafted by the government and placed in public domain on December 2014.

As a crucial component, the policy proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time bound manner from way below 2% GDP expenditure on the sector at present. The current policy, that shall be implemented after considerations from the state governments, the public and allied stakeholders, aims to provide healthcare "in an assured manner" to everyone. This definitely implies that there's much work to be done to improve public healthcare.

The government said it meant to use a mix of public and private sector facilities to deliver health-care services. It also aims to reduce morbidity and preventable mortality of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by advocating for pre-screening. The policy will also look into antibiotic resistance and try to tackle abuse of antibiotics by humans as well as in livestock. Along with this, the Policy envisions at the provision of assured comprehensive primary healthcare through Health and Wellness Centres.

Mr. Nadda said the policy seeks to achieve "90:90:90" global target by 2020, implying that 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of those diagnosed with HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of those receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression. Towards mainstreaming the potential of AYUSH the policy envisages better access to AYUSH remedies through co-location in public facilities. According to the Health Minister, the 2.5 per cent of GDP spend target for this sector would be met by 2025. It also seeks to reduce premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases by 25 per cent by 2025.

"This has a huge potential for effective prevention and therapy, that is safe and cost-effective", Mr. Nadda said.

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