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Centre approves National Health Policy, offers universal healthcare, free drugs and diagnosis

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the National Health Policy which proposes a concrete framework to provide "assured health services to all" in the country.

India TV News Desk, New Delhi [Published on:16 Mar 2017, 12:52 PM IST]
Centre approves National Health Policy- India Tv
Photo: REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE Centre approves National Health Policy

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the National Health Policy which proposes a concrete framework to provide "assured health services to all" in the country. 

It also suggests policy directives to make free drugs and diagnostic facilities available across the country, besides involving the private sector to make the services widely available.

Government sources said the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its nod to the policy which has been pending for the last two years.

Union Minister J P Nadda is likely to make a suo moto statement in the Parliament tomorrow elaborating on the salient features of the Policy.

Health Ministry sources said that in a major policy shift, the policy increases the gambit of sectors covered in the Primary Health Centre (PHC) level and envisages a comprehensive approach.

"For example, till now, PHCs were only for immunisation, anti-natal check ups and others. But what is a major policy shift is that now it will also include screening non-communicable diseases and a whole lot of other aspects," a senior official said.

The source said that under the new policy, there will also be a bigger focus on upgradation of district hospitals while for the first time, there will be an implementation framework in place.

A final decision on the policy had been deferred earlier after it was included in the agenda of the Union Cabinet twice before.

The proposed National Health Policy, which has been pending for the past two years, aims to provide assured health services to people as an "entitlement".

The Cabinet note which had been given earlier, however, had not talked about making health a "fundamental right" as it will have "legal consequences" but proposed assured health services.

The draft also addressed the issues of universal health coverage, reducing maternal and infant mortality rate, as well as making drugs and diagnostics available free at least in the public healthcare system of the country.

It suggests the Centre must amend laws to align them with the current healthcare scenario.

(With PTI inputs)

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