ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Narrow Focus Needed

National Health Policy 2015

Since independence, India's national health policies have been aspirational but the end results have been limited. The National Health Policy 2015, which is in the process of being finalised, should, in place of the earlier "broadband" approach, adopt a "narrow focus" on primary healthcare through the National Rural Health Mission. The latter has focused on primary healthcare and has shown visible results. A slew of suggestions as to how this can be done are made in this article.

The Government of India is in the process of framing the National Health Policy (NHP) 2015 with the draft already in the public domain for comments and suggestions. This article traces the features of the previous two national health policies of 1983 and 2002 and arrives at some recommendations for NHP 2015. The Health Policy of 1983 drew upon the general ideas of the Alma Ata Declaration, a global milestone in propagating public health, principally through primary healthcare. Its follower, the Health Policy of 2002, was less general in approach, looked at the health terrain from a lower altitude, and made recommendations on strategy and policy that were more pointed. Also, the 2002 policy recommended focus on primary healthcare more forcefully. After the introduction of the 2002 health policy, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) adopted a new programme, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) which was in the nature of a “ring-fenced,” exclusive, primary healthcare scheme. In the eight years since it has been introduced, its outcomes have been promising. Rural health indices have been seen to be improving as never before. Looking at this background, we would recommend that the “ring-fenced,” primary healthcare scheme be adopted across the country with assured funds, and no possibility under the rules for diversion of these funds. This article also makes some other recommendations on key policy issues relating to this sector.

1 Disease Profile

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