A VISIONARY STEP TO EXPAND UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has scaled up efforts towards providing universal health coverage and delivering quality healthcare services to all at affordable cost.
Universal health coverage is defined as ensuring that all people have access to needed promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that people do not suffer financial hardship when paying for these services.
Good health of its citizens is essential for sustained economic and social development of the nation. At least half of the world’s population cannot have access to essential health services and a large numbers of households are being pushed into poverty each year, as they have to pay for health care, according to a new report from the World Bank and World Health Organization (WHO).
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is the most powerful unifying single concept for better health outcomes of the population, and for ending poverty globally. The universal health coverage means that all individuals and communities have access to the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India has scaled up efforts towards providing universal health coverage and delivering quality healthcare services to all at affordable cost as committed under National Health Policy 2017.
Recently a visionary decision taken by the government in the form of “Ayushman Bharat Programme” to build a New India 2022 will ensure enhanced productivity, wellbeing and avert wage loss and impoverishment in the country.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director- General of WHO during his recent visit to India for the Delhi End TB Summit 2018 complimented the Government of India on the courageous and bold initiatives taken to expand universal health coverage through the two pillars of Ayushman Bharat. Dr Tedros also assured to further strengthen collaborative work between India and WHO in achieving improved health outcomes.
The two major initiatives in health sector, as part of Ayushman Bharat Programme will address health holistically in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems, covering both prevention and health promotion services.
The initiative to strengthen the primary healthcare system by creating 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres will provide people-centric comprehensive primary healthcare closer to the homes of people. These centres will deliver preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative care for a package of 12 services for communicable diseases, noncommunicable diseases and maternal and child health services with free essential drugs and diagnostics. Contribution of private sector through corporate social
We are committed to advancing the agenda of universal health coverage in the country, and have rolled out various initiatives to meet this aim. JP Nadda Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare
responsibility (CSR) and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged in the programme.
The second transformative initiative under Ayushman Bharat is the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), under which about 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) will be provided treatment coverage up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. The beneficiaries will be able to avail cashless benefits across India.
The government of India is consistently working towards improving tertiary healthcare infrastructure as well as health manpower in the country. Among ongoing scheme to establish 58 new medical colleges attached with existing district/ referral hospitals, eight medical colleges have already started functioning in last 3 years, while the remaining 50 would be made functional by 2019-20.
In order to further enhance accessibility of quality medical education and healthcare, 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals are proposed by up-grading existing district hospitals in the country by 2021-22, in the identified underserved areas in the country. This would ensure that there is at least one medical college for every 3 Parliamentary constituencies and at least one government medical college in each state of the country.
The government has also announced establishment of 13 new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and setting up of super-specialty facilities at 15 existing government medical colleges.
The government has also approved to increase 10,000 MBBS seats and 8,058 Post Graduate seats by 2020-21 to enhance the availability of qualified doctors; besides the 8,200 MBBS seats that would be added with the establishment of new medical colleges. The proactive steps taken by the government to increase the number of qualified doctors in the country, has already added nearly 13,000 MBBS seats and 7,000 PG seats since 2014-15.
Implementation of the scheme for setting up of 112 auxiliary nursing and midwifery schools (ANM) and 136 general nursing midwifery (GNM) schools by 2019-20 in the underserved areas would also support the UHC.
Provision of free drugs and free essential diagnostic services under National Health Mission in public health facilities and setting up of It-backed systems for drug procurement and quality assurance are the recent advancements in health sector.
The establishment of new medical colleges and increase of MBBS seats and PG seats would lead to increase in the availability of qualified health professionals, improve tertiary care in government sector, utilise existing infrastructure of district hospitals and promote affordable medical education in the country for general public, bridge the provider-patient ratio to attain Sustainable Development Goals and meet WHO standards.
Universal health coverage is not an end in itself, its goal is that all citizens of the country can achieve full health potential at every age by using health services that are appropriate to them, and can contribute to socioeconomic and sustainable development.
Let’s take the opportunity on World Health Day to make universal health coverage a reality for many more people and “Ayushman Bharat Programme” a success in shaping a healthy India.
Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare JP Nadda, along with his junior ministers Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Anupriya Patel, during a Press conference on the General Budget 2018-19, in New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the progress of preparations towards the launch of “Ayushman Bharat”, in New Delhi