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Universal Health Coverage Day 2019

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Every year on December 12, advocates worldwide mobilise on International Universal Health Coverage Day to call for strong, equitable health systems that leave no one behind

Health Ministry needs to be more assertive in demands for health budget: Ajoy Khanderia, Gramin Healthcare

Giving his perspective of UHC, Ajoy Khandheria, Founder, Gramin Healthcare, “Universal health coverage (UHC) is about ensuring all individuals and communities have access to the healthcare they need. UHC does not mean healthcare is free, but that personal out-of-pocket payments do not deter people from using health services, and they should be protected from the ever-increasing health expenditure. Even Progressive realisation of UHC is one of the key features of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”

Analysing India’s efforts to implement UHC, he points out, “In India, the commitment towards achieving UHC is clearly reflected in policies and institutional mechanism, which are directed towards increasing coverage and access to health services. India has launched Ayushman Bharat – one of the most ambitious health missions ever to achieve UHC. It has two complementary schemes — Health and Wellness Centres and National Health Protection Scheme.”

However, he contends that the dream of achieving UHC has still been a long-standing dream of India. He therefore advocates that “the Ministry of Health (MOH) needs to be more assertive in their demands for health budget and should use evidence-driven investment case scenarios to justify higher budgetary allocations. Even an architectural correction in public healthcare system should be made by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) through National Rural Health Mission to strengthen both rural and urban public health infrastructure, human resource capacity and service delivery.”

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