National health policy being attentive on preventive healthcare


The national health policy, cleared by the Narendra Modi government on last week, lays accent on preventive healthcare and wants to find the engagement of the private sector as a strategic partner so that services are easily affordable to all citizens with provision of free essential drugs and diagnostic facilities.

While the policy lays a framework for screening and treatment of non-communicable diseases like cancer and diabetes, talks were also about integrating AYUSH system in school education and moving towards wellness care through yoga. The policy also envisages extensive deployment of digital tools for improving outcomes and efficiency.

The policy, which will provide free essential medicines and “assured” health services to all, aims to reduce out of pocket expenditure, health minister JP Nadda said and asserted that it would “empower” patients by making healthcare affordable. “ This policy is patient-centric,” Nadda said.

He said the new policy, not like the previous one, stresses on “preventive and promotive” healthcare and also has a “target oriented” assurance for evacuation of diseases for which an implementation framework has been envisaged.

The policy also envisages creation of National Health Care Standards Organisation which will create guidelines and protocols for healthcare while there is a provision of establishing a discrete empowered tribunal for speedy resolution of disputes and complaints, Nadda said.

The policy suggests allocation of family health cards, which can be connected to the public health care facility so that a patient’s entire medical history can be digitally accessed.

“There will be a periodic measurement of all health institutions —both public and private— as envisaged in the policy. Their quality levels and facilities provided will be checked,” Nadda said.

The policy also suggests raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time-bound manner from 1.2% at present.