NDA came to power under a visionary leader, Shri Narendra Modi, who as our country’s Prime Minister had one and only agenda of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. Our Prime Minister knew that it’s the healthy citizens which make a nation productive and progressive and thereby the past four years have been game changers in the healthcare scenario of the country. The progress in health sector has been in every sphere i.e. be it policy changes/announcements, be it new programs/schemes, be it financial push, be it global goals, we have made considerable achievements in each facet of healthcare. Under the dynamic leadership of our Prime Minister, the country has witnessed innovative ideas being translated into action in the field, and dreams of people being fulfilled.
So, what all have been our accomplishments? Besides sustaining India’s Polio free status, India is the first country to be officially acknowledged as being Yaws-free, much before the WHO global target year of 2020. Also, India was validated for Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) in April 2015, much ahead of the global target date of December 2015. What is perhaps noteworthy is that India’s Under-five Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Ratio declined at a higher pace than the global average. India has nearly achieved the MDG5 target of U5MR. Also as per latest data, IMR has declined by three points (8% decline) in 2016, compared to two points decline the previous year. India has averted about 10 lakh deaths of children under age five since 2005 owing to the significant reductions in mortality from pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal infections etc. Not only this, the MDG6 target of halting and reversing the incidence of Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS has also been achieved. Another significant accomplishment has been expansion of the world’s biggest public health intervention i.e. Universal Immunization Program (UIP). There has been a sharper focus on both the scope and expansion of coverage. Through progressive policies, five new vaccines have been added in the last three years to strengthen the existing basket, bringing the total to 12 vaccines. The innovative Mission Indradhanush launched in 2014 can be acclaimed as one of the largest global interventions in public health through which we have immunised more than 3.15 crore children of which 80.58 lakh children are fully immunized; 80.63 lakh pregnant women are also immunised. Hon’ble Prime Minister has recently launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) for concerted efforts in 190 high priority districts in 24 states/UTs. Our special program for pregnant women – Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) provides special antenatal check-ups (ANCs) to all pregnant women on the 9th of each month and till date has conducted more than 1.16 crore ANCs and identifying more than 6 lakh high-risk pregnancies.
The Government under the unparalleled leadership of our Prime Minister is making relentless efforts to achieve its motto of ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’. ‘Sabka Sath’ envisages ‘Antyodaya’ where the empowering rays of opportunity reach the most deprived people i.e. the poor, marginalised and other vulnerable sections of the society. It is this mandate that formed the basis of ‘Universal Healthcare’ in the new National Health Policy 2017 released after a long gap of 15 years. Through this Policy, we aim to ensure that preventive and promotive healthcare reaches each and every citizen of the country. We are committed to investing 2.5% of the GDP for health services, in a phased manner. A strong indication of the Government’s priority towards health is the 27.7% increased budget allocation to the Ministry in 2017-18 and 11% for 2018-19. To achieve Universal Helathcare, the most exciting, the first of its kind program has been launched this year – Ayushman Bharat. Ayushman Bharat comprises two pillars i.e. Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission (PMRSSM) and the Pradhan Mantri Health & Wellness Centres (HWC). PMRSSM is the largest publicly funded health protection scheme of the world. It will provide health insurance to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approx. 50 crore people) with coverage up to Rs. 5 lakh/family/year to protect the poorest from catastrophic healthcare spending. The HWC comprise the 1.5 lakh Sub Centres & Primary Health Centres which will be transformed to HWCs, to provide Comprehensive Primary Healthcare services, close to homes/community. So while preventive and primary care will be catered through the HWCs, the PMRSSM will help the population access secondary and tertiary care without breaking the bank.
Ayushman Bharat is the most recent initiative in the long list of initiatives NDA has taken to ensure reduction in Out Of Pocket Expenditure (OOPE). One of the foremost initiative is the Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Program (PM-NDP) wherein free dialysis services for the poor and subsidized services are provided to all patients; till date more than 22.84 dialysis sessions have been held, benefitting more than 2.38 lakh patients. We also have the 134 Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) pharmacies across 22 States, selling more than 5200 drugs (including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, etc), implants, stents, surgical disposables and other consumables. These have benefitted more than 67.29 lakh patients and saved them Rs. 346.59 crores. As part of the National Health Mission (NHM), we have Free Drugs & Diagnostics Services Initiative wherein all states/UTs have notified policy to provide free essential drugs. 29 States are implementing IT backed drug logistics system for this initiative and in 2017-18 approval to the tune of Rs 4249.4 crore (both cash and kind grant) was given to States/ UTs to implement this initiative.
Moving beyond the statistical outcomes and policy measures, MoHFW’s flagship program – National Health Mission (NHM) implements several programs and initiatives to ensure quality services including strengthening of service delivery; quality assurance; RMNCH+A interventions; NCD interventions, strengthening human resources and community processes; information and knowledge; drugs and diagnostics and supply chain management, etc. Besides these, medical education is given due importance. In the past 4 years, 92 Medical College set up and MMBS & PG seats increased by 15354 and 12646 respectively. Not only this, as part of the PMSSY (Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana), to strengthen the tertiary care sector, 14 new AIIMS have been announced. Also, for the first time, a uniform entrance examination for admission to all medical seats in the country viz. National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) was introduced in the country.
While we have been able to cross many milestones in the health sector, much still needs to be done, in view of the vastness and diversity of the Indian demographic. I firmly believe that people-centered sustainable growth is possible only when collective effort is made. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been working tirelessly to improve the health care systems and services towards providing a better quality of care to people in line with Government’s well-enunciated priority for ‘Antyodaya’- reaching out to the those who need it the most towards shaping a holistically productive and developed nation, a ‘swastha bharat, smariddh bharat’.