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Breathing Life into Healthcare in India

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The new National Health Policy is promising, but it needs stronger Centre-State coordination

The new National Health Policy (2017) released last week presents a clear vision of how India’s sluggish health system can be galvanised to deliver health and well-being to all by 2030, to meet the Sustainable Development Goal on health. The real challenge lies in its operational amplification and effective implementation which call for cementing consensus, catalysing commitment and channelling close coordination for steering Centre and the States together to deliver on this vision.

After a gestation period of over two years, that saw extensive public comment and sharp debate within the government, the policy has finally emerged as a well-crafted document that lays the path for Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Though the right to health proposed in the earlier draft has been disappointingly deleted, effective implementation of the various measures proposed in the NHP should place us on the path towards the realisation of that right. While espousing a strong public health approach and commitment to strengthening the public sector, the policy aims to draw upon the diverse systems of medicine and the different sectors of health-care providers that characterise our mixed health system, for providing much-needed health services across India.

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