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Steadily Moving Toward UHC!

Over the last few years, India has embarked on a journey toward providing improved access to high-quality, and affordable healthcare for the most unreached and vulnerable population of the country. Many indicators, however, continue to show significant scope for improvement.

Niti Aayog has proposed a single regulator for food safety, medical devices, and medicines-a body analogous to Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in the US. At present, food safety in India is overseen by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and medicines by the Central Drugs Standards and Control Organization (CDSCO), and the administrative ministry for both is the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The policy think tank has also recently released its report, Health Systems for a New India: Building Blocks-Potential Pathways to Reforms, charting a clear roadmap for the complete transformation of India’s health system. It focuses on breaking silos in the health space and removing fragmentation between various initiatives, ensuring greater convergence between ministries as well as the Center and the states, as already initiated under Ayushman Bharat. The report identifies five focus areas of future health system-deliver on unfinished public health agenda; change health financing away from out-of-pocket, so spend into large insurers; integrate service delivery vertically and horizontally; empower citizens to become better buyers of health; and harness the power of digital health.

The final draft of establishing the National Digital Health Mission that can drive the implementation of the National Digital Health Blueprint was also released this month. Aligned to the vision of the National Health Policy 2017, the objectives of NDHB include establishing and managing the core digital health data; promoting the adoption of open standards; creating a system of personal health records; establishing data ownership pathway; and promoting health data analytics and medical research. And at the same time ensuring privacy, security, and confidentiality of the data that has been generated in the process. Adopting the principle of Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast, it forms the foundation for establishing a comprehensive and nationwide integrated digital health ecosystem in a phased manner.

Ambitious but imperative interventions, essential for achieving Health for All.

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