The National Health Policy would aim at increasing life expectancy to 70 years from 67.5 and reduce fertility rate to 2.1 by 2025 and proposes free diagnostics and drugs at all public hospitals, Health Minister J P Nadda informed Lok Sabha today. Making a statement in the House a day after the Union Cabinet approved the policy, he said it seeks to move health care away from sick care to wellness, with a thrust on prevention and health promotion. Yoga would be introduced much more widely in schools and work places as part of promotion of good health, he said. As a crucial component, the policy proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the GDP in a time bound manner from way below 2 per cent GDP expenditure on the sector at present. Nadda said the policy aimed at reducing Under-Five Mortality to 23 by 2025 and Maternal Mortality Rate to 100 by 2020.
It targets 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 also seeks to achieve and maintain elimination of leprosy by 2018, kala-azar by 2017 and lymphatic filariasis in endemic pockets by 2017.
It is aimed at reaching health care in an assured manner to all, particularly the under-served and underprivileged, he said.
"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.
"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.
It also looks to empower patients by setting up tribunals where patients can seek redressal of grievances over treatment, Nadda 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.
The policy aims to attain the highest possible level of health and well-being for all at 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, the Minister said.
This would be achieved through increasing access, improving quality and lowering the cost of health care delivery, he said.
The policy also takes a fresh look at strategic purchase from the private sector and leveraging their strengths to achieve national health goals, Nadda said, adding it seeks stronger partnership with the private sector. He said the policy envisaged providing larger package of assured comprehensive primary health care through the Health and Wellness Centres. It advocates allocating major proportion (two-thirds or more) of resources to primary care and aims to ensure availability of two beds per 1000 population distributed in a manner to enable access within golden hour, he said. Nadda said the policy seeks to achieve '90:90:90' global target by 2020, implying that 90 per cent of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90 per cent of those diagnosed with HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 per cent of those receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression. It also seeks to reduce the prevalence of blindness to 0.25 per 1000 persons by 2025 and the disease burden by one third from the current levels, the Health Minister said. Reducing premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases by 25 per cent by 2025 is also one of its targets, he said. The policy focuses on tackling the emerging challenge of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by supporting an integrated approach where screening for the most prevalent NCDs with secondary prevention would make a significant impact on reduction of morbidity and preventable mortality, he said. The policy envisages a three dimensional integration of AYUSH systems by promoting cross referrals, co-location and integrative practices across systems of medicines, he said. "This has a huge potential for effective prevention and therapy, that is safe and cost-effective," Nadda said. To empower patients, he said, the policy seeks reforms in the regulatory systems both for easing manufacturing of drugs and devices-- to promote Make in India-- as also for reforming medical education. "The policy has at its centre the person who seeks and needs medical care," the Minister said.