Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

National Health Policy, 2017: A Paradigm Shift Towards Making India Healthy

Every person desires for an innocuous life free from any major diseases and every responsible government endeavors to provide its citizens with the best facilities in order to assist them. National Health Policy (2017) can be considered as yet another propitious scheme by Modi Government, attempted towards the dream of a Healthy India.

Although the prior two Healthcare Policies of 1983 and 2002 had brought in major progress in Health Care Industry, the 14 year gap required a new revised policy as over the years many changes have taken place in the Health Care Milieu such as despite decline in Infant Mortality and Maternal Mortality Rate, many communicable and infectious diseases have seen a distend. National Health Care Policy (2017) has the potential to become a benchmark of all the Healthcare Policies implemented further. NHP, 2017 aims to fortify and compute the role of Government in the Health Sector to attune various dimensions such as investments, promotion of schemes, expenditure etc. NHP (2017) covets to provide exemplary healthcare services to people of all sections of the society, of all ages at a very affordable price. It can be seen as yet another efficacious ascend towards Prime Minister Modi’s motto of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’.

The Policy aims to adhere to the principles of Professionalism, Integrity and Ethics along with Equity to be compelling to all members of society, Affordable to be effective among all classes, Universality to be impartial to all, Patient Centered and Qualitative to be efficient among the people, Decentralized to be efficient and Dynamic and Adaptive to keep up with constant changes in flourishing health industry. Impact of this scheme would be enormous as it has aimed to encompass all the sections of society and will be proved very efficient in coming future. Following are the expected impacts:

The policy advocates a progressively incremental assurance based approach. It envisages providing larger package of comprehensive primary health care through the ‘Health and Wellness Centers’ and denotes important change from very selective to comprehensive primary health care package which includes care for major NCDs, mental health, geriatric health care, palliative care services.

It aspires to allocate major chunk of available wherewithal to the primary health services and intends to ensure availability of two beds per thousand populations distributed in a manner that the victim gets access to it at golden hour.

The decision of strengthening healthcare systems can be considered as another illustrious step in the overall buildup of the systems. It includes increase in Health Expenditure from 1.5% of the existing GDP to 2.5% by 2025, ensuring availability of paramedics and doctors as per IPHS standard, ensuring district level electronic database of information on health system components by 2020. The Digitization of Health care systems is possible due to the efficacious ‘Digital India’ campaign of Prime Minister Modi, which has brought in tremendous changes.

For Healthy body, a major expedient is a healthy environment, which was so far neglected in previous health policies. The Policy is now developed with ‘Health for all’ inclusive in ‘Health to all’. The prominent stress on development of an innocuous environment is a copacetic vision of Mr. Prime Minister. The Policy identifies following improvable areas for overall amelioration of Environment and Health:

  1. Swaccha Bharat Abhiyan
  2. Balanced Diets and Regular Exercises
  3. Addressing Alcohol, Drugs and substance use
  4. Prevention of Deaths due to Road and Rail Accidents (Yatri Suraksha Abhiyan)
  5. Action against Gender Violence (Nirbhaya Nari)
  6. Stress Management
  7. Control of Pollution

The interdependence of all the policies in here is a prominent decision, as it will ensure each and every policy works properly. This will also compel the policy enablers to act vigilantly due to the importance of contribution of each one of them.

Another laudable aspect of NHP (2017) is that it focuses on impartment of knowledge regarding health care right from childhood. The current government has put a lot of emphasis for investment on School Health that includes hygiene education, promoting self-care systems in School Environment taking in AYUSH policy for promotion of Yoga and Ayurveda within the school place, is designed to promote Health Care based on Indic Knowledge. This can be counted as a really promising and efficacious step in reviving the rich ancient Indian tradition of fitness that will be here to stay in coming years.

The Policy aims at improving and giving special focus on Primary Health Care package which includes geriatric, palliative and rehabilitative services. The facilities start with providing each and every family a health card which will be linked to health institutions through which they can avail facilities anywhere in India.

Secondary care aims to provide services at district health care centers which were first being provided in medical college hospital such as caesarian section, neonatal care etc.

Tertiary Health Care services focus on co-ordination between urban-district and zonal regions. It also envisages on opening of new AIIMS hospitals and new medical colleges in the country.

NHP(2017) also covers implementation of various national programs like Child and Adolescent Health, Addressing of Malnutrition, Universal Immunization, Prevention of communicable diseases, Control of TB, Control of HIV/AIDS, Leprosy Elimination, Vector-Borne Disease Control, Mental Health and population stabilization.

As far as a Policy Success is concerned, only paramount design is not enough, on-ground implementation prototype plays a vital role in the overall success of the policy. Implementation of NHP is bound to success due its structural framework. NHP Stresses on accountability of Centre and States regarding Policy Implementation. It also stresses on Resource based allocation, strengthening of institutional mechanisms and coordinated implementation as way forward. Fiduciary risks, provision of capacity building, technical assistance to states to develop their own strategic plans, through involvement of local self-governments are also included. Panchayats Raj Institutions are also being strengthened to play active role in the implementation.

NHP (2017) cogitates to bring in prominent revolutionary changes in the Health Care industry and to provide basic health-care systems to all with minimal cause, providing hygienic environment at the same time. It can be viewed as a monumental attempt at co-development and co-existence of humans and the environment around us.