UP mulls health policy to curb out-of-pocket costs, boost life expectancy

Based on WHO, Unicef guidelines, the draft policy with a roadmap for 2030, has been submitted to Yogi cabinet for approval

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The Uttar Pradesh government is mulling a new state Health Policy modelled under the guidelines of global healthcare agencies World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The draft policy is ready and pending before the Yogi Adityanath cabinet for vetting and final approval, before implementation across the state. The policy provides for a longer roadmap vision of 2030.

“We have taken National Health Policy 2017 as base, while our draft policy also incorporates recommendations of WHO about public health policy. Besides, it includes recommendations of other important stakeholders, such as UNICEF, Niti Aayog, non government organisations (NGOs), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) etc,” UP Health System Strengthening Project (UPHSSP) additional project direct Dr Harsh Sharma told Business Standard.

The guidelines of the union ministry of health and family welfare had also been considered in the framing of a holistic Health Policy.

“The basic purpose of our policy is to minimise the out of pocket expenditure of patients in the healthcare domain, and it is targetted primarily at the bottom of the pyramid sections of society,” he added.

National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 was approved by the union cabinet in March 2017. It was India’s third NHP with earlier editions released in 1983 and 2002. The goal of the NHP-2017 is to achieve the highest possible level of good health and well-being for Indians through a preventive and promotive healthcare orientation in all developmental policies, and to achieve universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.

The key targets of the NHP 2017 include; increasing government health expenditure from existing 1.15 per cet to 2.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025; increasing life expectancy at birth from 67.5 to 70 by 2025; reducing Total Fertility Rate (TFR) to 2.1 at national and sub-national level by 2025; reducing Under Five Mortality to 23 by 2025 and Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) from currents level’s 167 to 100 by 2020; and 40% reduction in prevalence of stunting of Under-Five Children by 2025.

Meanwhile, Sharma informed the state policy would incorporate various central and state healthcare schemes for maximising benefits, including Ayushman Bharat or Modicare too.

In fact, the Adityanath government had already launched a state universal healthcare scheme to provide free medical aid to the state poor families, which had been excluded from the central scheme.

The ‘Mukhya Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyan’ will benefit nearly a million households or 5.6 million bottom of pyramid beneficiaries deprived of Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission Scheme (NHPMS).

The state government had allocated Rs 111 crore for the scheme in Annual Budget 2019-20. Like Modicare, it also promises free medical cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per annum to beneficiaries.