The National Health Policy 2017, passed by the cabinet Wednesday, aims to increase life expectancy at birth by about three percentage points and reduce under-five mortality to 23 from the current level of 100 by 2025, Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda told Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Calling the policy “a huge milestone” in the history of the health sector in the country, Nadda said, “The policy seeks to move away from sick-care to wellness, with thrust on prevention and health promotion… The policy looks at stronger partnership with the private sector.”
The minister said the policy proposes to raise public spending to 2.5% of GDP. To provide access and financial protection, it proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency and essential health services in all public hospitals.
The minister said the policy seeks to put in place systems for setting standards and ensuring quality of healthcare. “The policy is patient-centric and empowers patients for resolution of all their problems,” Nadda said.
Stressing that the government adopted a highly participative and consultative approach in the policy’s formulation process, Nadda told the house that over 5,000 suggestions were received and looked at after the draft national health policy was placed on the public domain on December 30, 2014.
“The policy aims for attainment of the highest possible level of health and well-being for all at all ages, through a preventive and promotive healthcare orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence,” Nadda said.