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As directed by the Prime Minister a meeting was held in PMO on Government’s priorities in Health sector, particularly over the next 5 years. The meeting specifically focused on implementation of recommendations of the National Commission for Macroeconomics & Health (NCMH) and the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Health set up by Planning Commission.
The Prime Minister has emphasized the need for increased outlay on health sector during 12th Plan so that adequate funds are made available for the sector. He has also stated that though funds for the Health sector will not be a constraint, there is a need to create adequate capacity at the centre and the states to meaningfully absorb the increased outlay.
The meeting decided that we must work towards increasing the total government health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP by the end of the Twelfth Plan: currently it is around 1.4%. The Planning Commission was requested to allocate adequate resources to achieve the target. As health is primarily a State subject, the outlay of States for health would be critical in achieving this target. The Planning Commission may motivate and incentivize the States to allocate more funds for the health sector. For this purpose the Planning Commission in consultation with the Health Ministry will also work out an appropriate mechanism / scheme for this purpose.
The Health Ministry is working towards the goal of Universal Health Care for all. In the meeting it was decided that the Ministry may specifically focus on the following:
a) Health Ministry has proposed a new initiative called 'Free medicine for all through Public Health Facilities' under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). The Cabinet has approved the setting up of a Central Procurement Agency for bulk procurement of drugs. Ministry may set up the CPA early and prepare Standard Treatment Protocols.
b) Strengthening facilities at the Primary Health Centres, Community Health Centres and District Hospital so as to provide a minimum package of care to all citizens through provision of cashless, hassle free outpatient, inpatient and diagnostic care and supply of essential medicines. Ambulance services will be strengthened to provide access to health services to far off and inaccessible areas.
c) Strengthening enforcement mechanism of drug control. The Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Bill may be examined early so that it is introduced in Parliament soon.
d) In order to focus on prevention of disease and promotion of good health the Ministry will work closely with agencies dealing with social determinants of health like nutrition, safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitation and education. The Ministry will also work towards strengthening of public health through creation of necessary human resources capacities at all levels. An approach paper for induction of Health Managers and creation of a Public Health Cadre is to be prepared for inclusion in the 12th Plan.
e) Building human resources for health through producing adequate number of doctors, nurses, ANMs and other paramedics. In this regard the Ministry may work towards getting the National Commission on Human Resources in Health (NCHRH) Bill passed by the Parliament early.
f) Ministry may prepare a clear roadmap to merge all the NRHM schemes to bring them under one umbrella. The merger may begin with the coming financial year and the process may be completed by 2013-14.
g) The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 has been passed by the Parliament. This may be brought into effect soon so that its provisions are operationalized early.
h) The work on establishment of the National Centre for Disease Control may be completed in 2 years time. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Project may be strengthened with setting up of public health laboratories in districts and states.