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New Delhi, March 16, 2017: The union cabinet on Wednesday gave the green light to the National Health Policy Bill 2017 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 upcoming policy’s objective is to raise the public expenditure to the 2.5 percent of GDP with more than two-thirds of those resources going towards primary healthcare.

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The policy, which desires to cater healthcare services in a “guaranteed way” to all, will contemplate current and impending difficulties emerging from the constantly evolving financial, technological and epidemiological scenarios.

The policy is expected to reach healthcare to all corners of the country, particularly the underserved and underprivileged.

“National Health policy will provide free medicines and ‘assured’ health services to all and aims to reduce out of pocket health expenditure,” Health minister J P Nadda said in Lok Sabha.

This new health policy will work along the lines of Digital India. The Health Minister said that under the policy, family health card will be made which will be connected to Public Healthcare facility so that a patient’s history can be digitally accessed.

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  • The government aims in shifting focus from “sick-care” to “wellness”, by promoting prevention and well-being.
  • It aims to ensure availability of 2 beds per 1000 population distributed in a manner to enable access within the golden hour.
  • * To strengthen health systems by ensuring everyone has the 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 from 67.5 to 70 by 2025, reduce Infant Mortality Rate to 28 by 2019, Under Five Mortality Rate to 23 by 2025, and maternal mortality rate (MMR) from current levels to 100 by 2020.

The series of benefits doesn’t just end here. While talking to Moneycontrol.com, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and managing director of Biocon Hospitals, said policy’s aim could become a huge driver in creating millions of jobs.

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“The policy’s aim to ensure availability of 2 beds per 1000 population within the golden hour is addressing the opportunity for 2 million hospital beds. It will turn the hospitals into huge job creators as it will help in generating nearly 6 million jobs,” said Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard


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