Friday , February 23 2018

Central Government Approves National Health Policy

The proposed National Health Policy, which has been pending for the past two years, aims to provide assured healthcare services to the people in the country.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the National health Policy which proposes to provide “assured health care services to all” in the country.

Cabinet approves Health Care Services
The cabinet also approved increased dearness allowance (DA) and dearness relief with effect from the start of the year—a decision that will help millions of central government employees and pensioners.

Details of the national health policy were not revealed and are expected to be announced on Thursday, a government official said on condition of anonymity.

The main purpose to raise dearness allowance and dearness relief will benefit about 4.89 million central government Workers and 5.55 million pensioners. The rise in dearness allowance will cost the exchequer Rs5,857.28 crore and the increase in the dearness relief Rs6,833.50 crore in the 14 months from January 2017 to February 2018.

The Health Care policy, which has been pending for the past two years, also suggests raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP from the current 1.2 per cent.

Government sources said the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its nod to the policy which seeks to decrease out of pocket expenses on health.

Union Minister JP Nadda is likely to make an announcement in the Parliament on Thursday explaining the salient features of the Policy.

The sources said that in a major policy shift, the policy expands the gambit of sectors covered in the Primary Health Centre (PHC) level and predicts a comprehensive approach.

Till now, Primary Health Care Centres mainly provided services for immunisation, anti-natal checkups, and others. But now the policy also include screening non-communicable diseases and a whole lot of other aspects,” a senior official said.

The source also stated that under the new policy, there will also be a bigger focus on the development of district hospitals for the first time, there will be an implementation framework in place.

The Cabinet note which had been given earlier, however, had not talked about making health a “fundamental right” as it will have “legal consequences” but proposed assured health services.

The Policy also addressed the issues of universal health coverage as well as making drugs and diagnostics available free at least in the public healthcare system of the country.

The policy also seeks to decrease maternal and infant mortality rate and address increasing the burden of non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disorders.

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