With a determination to take healthcare to all sections of society, beyond caste, creed or religion, the Narendra Modi government after four years of its reigns at the Centre shows resolution to reach out to the person existing on the last mile, observes Elets News Network (ENN).
Having decimated UPA in Lok Sabha elections of 2014, it got an opportunity to take health reform to every household. Thus, health, which is a basic necessity like food and cloth, has emerged as its major focus area in the form of ‘Modicare’.
In last four years, with its various pro-people initiatives, the Government has shown its commitment to provide quality, accessible and cost-efficient healthcare facilities to people of India.
For the healthcare sector, the past four years saw a slew of measures being undertaken to boost Indian healthcare system with a sharp focus on empowering citizens to access quality healthcare services using better mobile and internet connectivity; policy interventions to reduce cost of medicines and medical equipment; and bringing more people under the health insurance net, benefiting millions of patients across the country during the process.
The Government is trying hard to achieve the aim of universal healthcare, with ‘Ayushman Bharat Programme’ being one of the prominent steps in this direction.
Dubbed as ‘Modicare’, the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) is being touted as world’s one of the biggest healthcare programme. Experts also believe that this could be a gamechanger if implemented properly.
The scheme will provide a benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year. More than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population would be benefitted with the scheme. It is aimed to reduce Out Of Pocket (OOP) expenditure—the in-patient hospitalisation expenditure in India which has increased nearly 300% during last 10 years according to the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) 2015. AB-NHPM will take care of almost all secondary care and most of tertiary care procedures.
Other big achievement for the government in the healthcare sector came in the form of National Health Policy 2017.
It aims at attainment of the highest possible level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.
The National Health Policy looks at problems and solutions holistically with focus on to reduce reduction in incidence and prevalence of certain disease conditions including HIV, leprosy, TB. It also targets to reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases by 2025.
In order to provide access and financial protection at secondary and tertiary care levels, the policy proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency care services in all public hospitals. The Union Cabinet recently approved continuation of the National Health Mission (NHM)—with effect from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2020.
The salient features of the NHM will be a shift from selective to comprehensive primary healthcare that includes care for common non-communicable diseases, geriatric healthcare, palliative care and rehabilitative care services, etc., through strengthening of the sub centres and primary health centres as Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs).
In a bid to digitise healthcare system which will bring more transparency, awareness and easy accessibility to masses, the Government has initiated National Health Portal and digitisation of government hospital services under the ‘Digital India Mission’.
Keeping up with the technological transformation impacting the delivery of services in the country, various mobile apps like ‘NHP Indradhanush’, ‘NHP Swasthya Bharat’ and ‘Mera Aspatal’ were launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In addition, the Government has taken many steps to improve health of poor people who can’t afford costly healthcare facilities. National Health Mission Free Drugs and Free Diagnostics initiative, JananiShishuSurakshaKaryakaram (JSSK),RashtriyaBalSwasthyaKaryakaram(RBSK),RashtriyaKishorSwasthyaKaryakaram (RKSK) and PradhanMantri National Dialysis Programme were announced to strengthen healthcare delivery.
The Government promised to provide essential drugs and diagnostics free of cost in public health facilities under the National Health Mission free Drugs and free diagnostics initiative. It was also decided to transform sub-health centres/PHCs to health and wellness centres to provide comprehensive primary care. Free dialysis services to the poor in district hospitals were announced under Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme. The Government made quality generic medicines available at affordable prices under ‘Jan Aushadhi Scheme.
The immunisation programme, Mission Indradhanush, has been successful in reaching to crores of children, ensuring they are fully immunised. The Government has also opened many outlets under the Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) programme, serving millions of patients.
In addition, the Government has also decided to setup new AIIMS like institutions in many states and upgradation of district hospitals to medical college hospitals to further strengthen healthcare delivery system.
In a bid to provide people best tertiary care service in affordable manner, the sent price was reduced. After receiving several complaints about overcharging on catheters, balloons and guide wires used for angioplasty, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority decided to revise the price of drug eluting stents (DES) downwards by about Rs 2,300.
The Modi Government is also planning to regulate manufacture, import and sale of Critical medical devices such as pacemakers, CT scanners and X-ray machines to ensure quality. Sources say the Drugs Technical Advisory Board recently approved a proposal to include implantable medical devices and high-end medical equipment under the purview of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
It seems Modi Government will leave no stone unturned to create healthier India.