Since the last National Health Policy which was 15 years ago, in 2002; the Union Cabinet has passed the National Health Policy 2017 which was originally proposed in Dec 2014.
In India, healthcare sector suffers from underfunding and bad governance. Yes, India has made huge improvements since independence. But majority (70%) of the effort has been private sector led. Still India accounts for 21% of the world’s burden of disease.
The policy is expected to reach healthcare to all corners of the country, particularly the underserved and underprivileged. The brighter part is that the government aims to increase public healthcare expenditure to 2.5 percent of GDP with more than two-thirds of those resources going towards primary healthcare. The government envisions at ensuring affordable healthcare services for all at all ages and proposes free diagnostics and drugs at all public hospitals
Key Targets of National Health Policy 2017
- Achieve elimination of leprosy by 2018, kala-azar by 2017 and lymphatic filariasis in endemic pockets by 2017
- To reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases by 25 per cent by 2025
- Increase Life Expectancy at birth from 67.5 to 70 by 2025
- Reduce infant mortality rate from 40 in 2013 to 28 by 2019
- The infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of infants under one year old per 1,000 live births
- Reduce Under Five Mortality from 29 in 2015 to 23 by 2025
- Reduce Total Fertility Rate (TFR) from 2.3 in 2013 to 2.1 at national and sub-national level by 2025
- The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is the average number of children that would be born alive to a woman during her lifetime if she were to pass through her childbearing years having births according to the current schedule of age-specific fertility rates.
- Achieve the global 2020 HIV target 90:90:90
- 90 per cent of all people living with HIV know their HIV status
- 90 per cent of all people diagnosed with HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral therapy
- 90 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression
Key Highlights of National Health Policy 2017
- Nirbhaya Nari: Free healthcare to victims of gender violence in public and private sector
- The government aims in shifting focus from “sick-care” to “wellness”, by promoting prevention and well-being
- In order to provide access and financial protection, it proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency and essential healthcare services in all public hospitals
- Reforming medical education
- It highlights AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) as a tool for effective prevention and therapy that is safe and cost-effective. It proposes introducing Yoga in more schools and offices to promote good health
- To ensure availability of 2 beds per 1000 population distributed in a manner to enable access within golden hour (the first 60 minutes after a traumatic injury)
- The policy envisages providing a larger package of assured comprehensive primary healthcare through the ‘Health and Wellness Centers‘. It is a comprehensive package which includes care for major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental health, geriatric healthcare, palliative care and rehabilitative care services
- Under the policy, every family will have a health card for access to primary care facility as well as to defined package of services nationwide
- To improve and strengthen the regulatory environment, the policy seeks putting in place systems for setting standards and ensuring quality of healthcare
The best part about this policy is that it envisages a time-bound implementation framework with clear deliverable and milestones to achieve the policy goals. The roadmap of this new Policy is predicated on public spending and provisioning of a public healthcare system that is comprehensive, integrated and accessible to all. We hope that the whole country along with government and other stakeholders approach this policy with great seriousness and make India a healthier place to live.