Setting ambitious targets, the government today unveiled the National Health Policy which entails raising of public expenditure to 2.5 per cent of GDP from the current 2 per cent and introducing yoga much more widely in schools and work places. The Policy, which was cleared by the Cabinet yesterday, also envisions increasing life expectancy to 70 years from 67.5 years and proposes free diagnostics and drugs at all public hospitals. It also seeks to empower patients by setting up tribunals where an aggrieved person can seek redressal of grievances over treatment, Health Minister J P Nadda said while giving an overview of the policy in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The policy aims at reaching health care in an assured manner to all, particularly the under-served and underprivileged, he said. Nadda said the policy aims at reducing Under-Five Mortality to 23 by 2025 and Maternal Mortality Rate to 100 by 2020.
It targets at reducing infant mortality rate to 28 by 2019 and neo-natal mortality to 16 and still-birth rate to single digit by 2025. The policy seeks to move health care away from "sick care to wellness", with thrust on prevention and health promotion, the minister said. The policy aims at attaining the highest possible level of health and well-being for all ages through a preventive and promotive health care and universal access to quality health services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence, he said. This would be achieved by increasing access, improving quality and lowering the cost of health care delivery, Nadda said. As a crucial component, the policy proposes raising of public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the GDP in a time-bound manner from 2 per cent of the GDP as at present, he said. He said the policy also proposes reduction of fertility rate to 2.1 by 2025 and free diagnostics and drugs at all public hospitals. Yoga would be introduced much more widely in schools and work places as part of promotion of good health, he said. The policy also seeks to achieve and maintain elimination of leprosy by 2018, kala-azar by 2017 and lymphatic filariasis in endemic pockets by 2017. "The National Health Policy 2017 is a huge milestone in the history of health sector in the country. The last national policy was framed in 2002," he said. "This policy has come after a gap of 15 years to address the current and emerging challenges necessitated by the changing socio-economic, technological and epidemiological landscape," he said. The draft policy was placed in public domain in December, 2014 and over 5000 suggestions were received, Nadda said, adding that this was followed by consultations with state governments and other stakeholders.
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