New Delhi: The government on Monday said it will increase the total health expenditure to 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, from the current 1.15%, with more finance flow to the states, in a bid to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
“In union budget 2017-18, the government increased budget for health sector by 27.7% and National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 released this year also envisages to increase health expenditure as a percentage of GDP from the existing 1.15% to 2.5 % by 2025," health minister J.P. Nadda said. “The Government through the 14th Finance Commission also increased devolution of finances from 32% to 42% of divisible pool—an increase estimated at Rs25 lakh crore over award period to provide States with greater flexibility and autonomy to design, implement and finance schemes," he said.
The health ministry has announced that 150,000 sub-health centres will be transformed into health and wellness centres for providing comprehensive primary care.
For tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs), a major cause of death and disability in India, the ministry has initiated universal screening of common NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension and common cancers at the sub-centre and primary health centres. The current sanctioned budget for tackling NCDs such as such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity and diabetes is Rs955 crore (2017-18).
The health ministry is also focusing on maternal health and planning to invest more in the area.
“We have also launched “LaQshya" Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative, a Safe Delivery Mobile Application for health workers who manage normal and complicated deliveries in the peripheral areas, and also released the operational guidelines for obstetric High Dependency Units (HDUs) and Intensive Care Units (ICUs)," Nadda said.
The safe delivery application has clinical instruction films on key obstetric procedures which can help health workers translate learnt skills into practice.
It can play a pivotal role in training, post-training reinforcement, mentoring and demonstration. The application has been tailored to India and been field tested in a few districts where it has been found to be useful for health workers who provide maternity care.
Nadda said the operational guidelines will complement the already existing national guidelines and help the states and state level policy makers set up and operationalise these critical care units, dedicated to pregnant women and recently delivered mothers, in medical colleges and district hospitals.