National Health Policy 2017 seeks to recognise and address the realities of health care in India but some shortcomings remain. Discuss.

National Health Policy 2017 seeks to recognise and address the realities of health care in India but some shortcomings remain. Discuss.

Approach:

  • Introduce with NHP 2017
  • Enumerate the key features of NHP that are addressing the issues in healthcare
  • Mention the shortcomings
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

The National Health Policy 2017 is aimed at achieving the highest possible level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and to achieve universal access to good quality health care services.

Key features of NHP 2017:

  • To address the low public expenditure on health, it seeks to raise public healthcare expenditure to 2.5% of GDP from current 1.4% which is very low.
  • It envisions more than two-thirds of the public health expenditure going towards primary healthcare, providing a larger package of assured comprehensive primary healthcare through the ‘Health and Wellness Centres’.
  • It calls every family to be linked by a health card to a primary care facility providing a defined package of services.
  • To take of catastrophic out-of-pocket expenditure on health, it proposes free diagnostics, free drugs and free emergency and essential healthcare services in all public hospitals in order to provide healthcare access and financial protection.
  • Recognizing the large role of private health care, the policy advocates a positive and proactive engagement with the private sector for critical gap filling towards achieving national goals. A mix of public and private care is neede to ensure that every insured individual should have a right to choice, efficiency and quality.

Shortcomings:

  • The Policy has not introduced the right to health, instead adopted an “assurance-based approach”.
  • Even the target of increasing public health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP by 2025 is very low in comparison to what has been achieved by the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh.
  • It speaks of increasing the health budget in a time-bound manner stepwise. But it does not mention in which year how much of it is going to be increased.

The new National Health Policy 2017 is a step in the right direction, as it will help in the creation of an ecosystem to touch the lives of poor and underprivileged. To implement it effectively, budgetary oversight must be created so as to keep tab of how the money is spent and whether it is spent within stipulated time.

Subjects : Current Affairs

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