Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare addressed the 7th annual summit of NATHEALTH focusing on ‘Indian Health system expansion in post-Covid era’ through a video conference today.
Reiterating the commitments of the government towards fulfilling the goal of Health for all, the Union Minister noted, “It is a top priority for the Government led by Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji. To institutionalize the approach towards our goal, we launched the National Health Policy in 2017. The vision behind the policy-framework has been to attain the highest possible level of health and well-being for all, across all age groups by emphasizing on preventive and promotive aspects of health and providing universal access to good quality healthcare services without any one having to face financial hardship as a consequence. Ayushman Bharat is yet another ambitious program of the Government with the objective of providing Universal Free Access to comprehensive primary health care, promoting health and wellbeing.”
“Health has also been identified in Budget 2021-22 as one of the six main pillars to drive growth. A holistic approach towards health and wellbeing has been adopted with an enormous financial allocation of Rs 2,23,846 crore in 2021-22 which is a mammoth 137% increase over the previous year. In order to meet our objectives under the policy, we are striving to increase health expenditure as a percentage of GDP to 2.5 % by 2025. We are also encouraging State Governments to increase State sector health spending to more than 8% of state’s GDP.”
He elaborated on how Pradhan Mantri Aatma Nirbhar Swaasthya Yojana will strengthen the healthcare system to meet challenges of current and future pandemics. “The main objective of Pradhan Mantri Aatma Nirbhar Swaasthya Yojana is to strengthen health systems across continuum of care to meet challenges of current and future pandemics along with expanding & building robust IT enabled surveillance systems to track and contain the spread of diseases.” He added that there are various other components of the Yojana which cater to the needs for emergency response like Critical Care Blocks for advanced treatment, training and mentoring, strengthening the network of public health labs, establishing new Regional Centres for Disease Control etc.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “Good Governance, transparency & reform to transform have been the hallmarks of this government. The National Medical Commission Act paved the way for implementing long needed reforms in medical education. Similarly, National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions has also been passed which will enable standardization of education. The cabinet has approved expansion of the network of AIIMS, taking their total strength to 22, more than half of which are already operational. District Hospitals are being upgraded as Medical Colleges while existing Government Medical Colleges are being up-graded under the Pradhan Mantri Swaasthya Suraksha Yojana.
The Union Minister underscored importance of strengthening the role of private sector in India’s healthcare system. “If India has to attain highest standards of healthcare system across the world, it cannot be without the support of the Private sector. The provision of health care facilities can be made more broad-based with the active participation of private sector.” He added, “Currently apart from running private healthcare facilities in various cities and towns, private enterprises are also actively engaged in supporting government led public health programs such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, Prime Minister National Dialysis Programme, Mobile Medical Units & Bio Medical Waste Management System to name a few.One of the primary objectives of National Health Policy 2017 is to align the growth of the private health care sector with public health goals. It will enable private sector contribution to making health care systems more effective, efficient, rational, safe, affordable and ethical.”