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Indian Polity and Governance

A newer concept of Universal Health Coverage will encompass primary, secondary and. Indian Polity and Governance.

Context :

A newer concept of Universal Health Coverage will encompass primary, secondary and

Tertiary care for all who need it, and at affordable cost without discrimination.

What is ‘Health’?

The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and

Social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being,

without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic condition, or social condition.

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What is Universal Health Coverage?

Universal health coverage means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need,

when and where they need them, without financial hardship. 

It covers the full continuum of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.

Every country has a different path to achieving UHC and deciding what to cover based on the needs of its people and the resources at hand. 

However, the importance of access to health services and information as a basic human right is universal.

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Steps Taken by India in the Direction of UHC

The Constitution of India does not explicitly guarantee the right to health as a Fundamental Right.

However, there are multiple references in the Constitution to public health and on the role of the State in providing healthcare to citizens.

The Directive Principles of State Policy in Part IV of the Constitution of India provides a basis for the right to health.

Article 47 directs the State to raise the nutrition levels and standard of living of people and to improve public health. 

Universal Health Care/coverage (UHC) was implied as early as 1977. India, through its National Health Policy 1983, committed itself to the ‘Health for All’ goal by 2000.

As a step towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the Union Government launched

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) in 2018.

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Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY)

  • It was launched on the recommendations of the National Health Policy 2017, to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). 
  • This initiative has been designed to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its underlying commitment, which is to “leave no one behind.”
  • Ayushman Bharat adopts a continuum of care approach, comprising of two inter-related components, which are –
  • Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs): 1,50,000 Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) will be created by transforming the existing Sub Centres and Primary Health Centres. These centres are to deliver Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) bringing healthcare closer to the homes of people. They cover both, maternal and child health services and non-communicable diseases, including free essential drugs and diagnostic services.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY): Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY is the largest health assurance scheme in the world which aims at providing a health cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 crores poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) that form the bottom 40% of the Indian population. The households included are based on the deprivation and occupational criteria of Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 (SECC 2011) for rural and urban areas respectively.

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Impediments Towards Universal Health Coverage

  • Public sector is severely underfunded while the private sector is growing but their rising high cost healthcare service is an impediment.
  • There is a concentration of medical professionals in cities, leaving rural areas grossly understaffed.
  • Too much funding is put towards rebuilding the provider-led, unintegrated health systems of yesterday, rather than reinventing health systems for tomorrow.
  • The intellectual property rules have served as a  barrier to the right to access  to healthcare. The present global regime governs the monopoly rights over the production and distribution of life-saving drugs.

Suggestions to achieve Universal Health Coverage

There is a need for an intersectoral convergence beyond medical and health departments such as women and child development,

food and nutrition, agriculture and animal husbandry, civil supplies, rural water supply and sanitation,

social welfare, tribal welfare, education, forestry, etc.

Combining public and private health sectors effectively for meeting UHC goals in a  manner that avoids perverse incentives will reduce provider induced demand.

Telehealth can close the transportation disparity gap by delivering virtual

healthcare services directly to the patient, at home, school, or work.

Telemedicine kiosks could also provide more convenient, accessible care in places like local pharmacies,

Airports, and universities, potentially easing the transportation burden for patients to and from the clinic.

Telehealth is not location dependent. Available in urban and rural communities alike, telemedicine can alleviate some of

the burdens in finding appropriate care within a reasonable distance from home or work.

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Indian Polity and Governance,Indian Polity and Governance,Indian Polity and Governance

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