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Action plan for healthcare in India

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Alok Kumar, Advisor, NITI Aayog, GoI spoke on the action plan for India’s healthcare sector. He began by highlighting some key challenges within India and the goals of the NITI Aayog to build a better healthcare system for India.

He said that there is an urgent need to step up government spending on health by 333 per cent in the next three year to improve healthcare delivery within the country. He also said that there is a need to look at the institutional architecture of the health system, both at the state and the centre.  He also stated, “If we want to achieve this by the year 2030, the government will need to take a stewardship role rather than that of a provider”. He informed that there is a difference of opinion between the health ministry and the NITI Aayog on the kind of freedom to be given to state governments to formulate health policies within their respective states. “If you look at NSSO data it gives a clear indication that  every state has a different health challenge. Therefore, the NITI Aayog is of the opinion that the state should be given more flexibility to formulate policies that would be favourable to their demographics, conditions, health challenges etc.,” he stated.

He also pointed out that the government should allocate health budgets for each state based on an incentive model. This will encourage them to work towards better health outcomes, rather than pouring funds into states that do not perform well. Kumar also informed that the NITI Aayog is soon going to bring out an outcomes reports  that will measure incremental past performance for various states. We have also requested the health ministry for budget allocations on some national health schemes based on this report.

Highlighting the human resource paucity in healthcare, Kumar said that this is more of a regulatory problem in India and the government needs to focus on improving the quality of medical education. He also talked about the criminal records of MCI chiefs, nursing council chief etc. Kumar felt that medical education needs a complete overhaul in India. “India needs to move from input-based regulation to a output based regulation,” he insisted. Additionally, Kumar spoke about ensuring access to quality healthcare and ethical use of drugs.

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