The National Health Policy (NHP) proposes to give financial as well as non-financial incentives apart from making mandatory rural postings to attract doctors to the remote areas. With rural areas facing shortage of doctors, the policy also proposes creating medical colleges in rural areas apart from giving preference to students from under-serviced areas to attract them to the rural areas. "The policy proposes financial and non-financial incentives, creating medical colleges in rural areas, preference to students from under-serviced areas, realigning pedagogy and curriculum to suit rural health needs, mandatory rural postings, etc," the policy put up on the Health Ministry website today said. It said measures of compulsion through mandatory rotational postings dovetailed with "clear and transparent" career progression guidelines are "valuable" strategies. "A constant effort, therefore, needs to be made to increase the capacity of the public health systems to absorb and retain the manpower. "The total sanctioned posts of doctors in the public sector should increase to ensure availability of doctors corresponding to the accepted norms," the policy said. Elaborating about the salient features of the policy, Health Minister J P Nadda had yesterday said the policy will provide free medicines and "assured" health services to all and aims to reduce out of pocket health expenditure. The policy also recommends strengthening existing medical colleges and converting district hospitals to new medical colleges to increase number of doctors and specialists, in states with "large human resource deficit". Recognising the need to increase the number of post graduate seats, the policy also supports expanding the number of AIIMS like centers for continuous flow of faculty for medical colleges, biomedical and clinical research. "National Knowledge Network shall be used for Tele-education, Tele-CME, Tele-consultations and access to digital library. "A common entrance exam is advocated on the pattern of NEET for UG entrance at All India level, a common national-level Licentiate or exit exam for all medical and nursing graduates, a regular renewal at periodic intervals with Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits accrued, are important recommendations," it said. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the policy.
The policy stresses on "preventive and promotive" health care and also has a "target-oriented" commitment for elimination of diseases for which an implementation framework has also been envisaged. Health Minister J P Nadda in Parliament last year had said that the government provides incentives like "hard area allowance" to doctors serving in rural areas so that they find it "attractive" to serve in those places.
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