The Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Modi approved the National Health Policy 2017 (NHP 2017). The last health policy was formulated in the year 2002, changing healthcare needs and socio economic changes necessitated a fresh policy.

The policy mainly focuses on preventive healthcare and also advocates universal access to quality healthcare at affordable costs.

Key Features of National Health Policy 2017:

  • Patient centric & quality driven approach
  • Intends to promote health Security
  • Focus on Make in India for drugs & medical devices
  • Free drugs, free diagnosis & free emergency services to be  available in public hospitals
  • Proposes raising the public healthcare expenditure to 2.5% of GDP, in a phased wise manner
  • Proposes to establish National Digital Health Authority to regulate, develop and deploy digital health care access
  • Focuses on emerging diseases & investment in preventive healthcare
  • While it advocates for prioritising the role of government in delivering healthcare access to all it equally
  • It aims to mainstream alternate forms of medicine, AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homoeopathy) through co-locating them with public facilities
  • School health programmes to be a major focus
  • Health and hygiene being to be made part of school curriculums
  • Encourages voluntary service in rural and under-served areas on pro-bono basis by  healthcare professionals under  ‘giving back to society’ initiative
  • Proposes to allocate major proportion (2/3rd  or more) of resources to primary healthcare services followed by the secondary and tertiary care services.
  • The policy also aspires to provide most of the secondary care services at district level which is currently been provided at a medical college hospital.

The policy has also set some targets in relation to indicators of health, they are:

Targets set in NHP As of 2014 Target To be achieved by
Expenditure on Health as percentage of GDP 1.40% 2.50% Not Specified
Total Fertility Rate 2.3 2.1 2025
Under 5 Mortality Rate(per 1000 live births) 45 23 2025
Infant Mortality Rate(per 1000 live births) 39 28 2019
Neonatal Mortality Rate(per 1000 live births) 26 16 2025
Maternal Mortality Rate (per 100000 live births) 181 100 2020
No of Beds/1000 Population 0.9 2 Not Specified
Longevity (in Years) 67.5 70 2025

While the policy looks promising prima-facie, it remains to be seen how effectively will the proposed initiatives be implemented.

You may click here to download the National Health Policy 2017.

By ieshanbali


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