Shripad Yasso Naik, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Department of AYUSH, announced that the proposed National Health Assurance Mission (NHAM) would reduce out-of-pocket spending on healthcare by the common man.
In his address at the 11th India Health Summit in New Delhi, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the minister acknowledged the need for the government to work in sync with the private sector with clear targets in mind so as to achieve the goal of Health for All. “We need to provide accessible, affordable and quality healthcare in rural areas, where most of our population resides,” he urged.
Lov Verma, Secretary-Health, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, expressed, “NHAM would soon become a reality. Preventive and promotive healthcare is one of the key pillars of the mission. Another pillar would be provision of a basket of essential drugs, diagnostics and services.”
According to Verma, NHAM has identified 184 districts (25 in each State) to ensure targeted interventions. He said that while the per capita expenditure on health has nearly doubled from 2004-05 to 2010-11, it is way below global averages. However, there have been some basic improvements, and India is well on course to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in reducing the maternal mortality rate, infant mortality rate and under-5 mortality rate.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Healthcare & Chairman and Managing Director, Medanta, said that aligning the expertise and resources available with the private sector with the public sector capacity will result in significant enhancement of healthcare delivery in the country without much additional investment.
Setting the context for the two-day summit, Dr Trehan said there was a need to identify areas where private sector can complement government efforts in achieving ‘health assurance’ and called for a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach. He also cited the example of the ‘Healthy and education village programme’ done by CII in which Medanta is looking after delivery of medical services. Under this, 100 villages have been adopted. Similarly, he suggested that a few pilot PPP sites be created where government and private&a mp;nb sp;providers actively collaborate to develop a framework for quality assurance, payments and reasonable profitability.
Welcoming the commitment of the new government, Harpal Singh, Mentor and Chairman Emeritus, Fortis Healthcare Ltd, said that a Mission like the NHAM was fundamental for development and economic well-being. He suggested that the Mission should focus on the most neglected girl children. He also mentioned that through the consistent efforts of the CII over the last 15 years, health has become a ‘boardroom agenda’ for many Indian companies.
Rahul Khosla, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on Healthcare & Managing Director, Max India Ltd, said that sustainability was key issue in achieving health for all. There must be better utilisation of what we already have, he said, and there is huge potential to maximise what we have in terms of infrastructure. He looked forward to working hand in hand with government to achieve the goal of health for all.