National Health Policy cleared

The Union cabinet cleared the National Health Policy which puts forward a concrete framework for universal healthcare and suggests policy directives to make free drugs and diagnostic facilities available across the country besides involving the private sector to make the services widely available.

The policy , which was pending for over two years, also suggests raising public health expenditure to 2.5 % of GDP.  It addresses issues of universal health coverage by making essential drugs, diagnostic facilities and insurance available for all. The idea is to reduce out of pocket expenditure on health. Estimates show that drugs and diagnostics constitute over 70% of a family's out of pocket expenditure on health.

While final contours will come up in the policy's detail implementation framework, it suggests increasing private participation and making device manufacturing easy for Indian manufacturers. It also focuses on reducing maternal and infant mortality and addressing increasing burden of non communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disorders.

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