The National Health Policy, 2017, was approved by the Union Cabinet, two years after a draft copy of the bill was circulated among stakeholders. After considering suggestions from the public, state governments and others, the new policy will replace the previous one, which was framed 15 years ago in 2002. The policy, which aims at providing healthcare in an “assured manner” to all, will address current and emerging challenges arising from the ever changing socio-economic, technological and epidemiological scenarios.
- The government aims in shifting focus from “sick-care” to “wellness”, by promoting prevention and well-being.
- It intends on gradually increasing public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP.
- To strengthen health systems by ensuring everyone has access to quality services and technology despite financial barriers. The policy proposes increasing access, improving quality and reducing costs. It proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency and essential healthcare services in public hospitals.
- To focus on primary health care: The policy advocates allocating two-thirds (or more) of resources to primary care. It proposes two beds per 1,000 of the population to enable access within the golden hour (the first 60 minutes after a traumatic injury).
- To reduce morbidity and preventable mortality of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by advocating pre-screening.
- To promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative by using drugs and devices manufactured in the country.
- 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.
- Reforming medical education.
- The policy also lists quantitative targets regarding life expectancy, mortality and reduction of disease prevalence in line with the objectives of the policy.
- Increase Life Expectancy at birth from 67.5 to 70 by 2025.
- Reduce infant mortality rate to 28 by 2019.
- Reduce Under Five Mortality to 23 by 2025.
- Achieve the global 2020 HIV target (also termed 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 and 90 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression)
- To reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases by 25 per cent by 2025.