India to achieve Universal Health Coverage: Nadda
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India to achieve Universal Health Coverage: Nadda

New Delhi, Sep 3: Union Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda said on Monday that India has fast-tracked many initiatives aimed at achieving all the core tenets of Universal Health Coverage, including strengthening health systems, improving access to free medicines and diagnostics and reducing catastrophic healthcare spending.

'India on its part firmly believes in the objective of attainment of the highest possible level of health, where health is a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,' said Mr Nadda at the inauguration of the ‘71st Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia,' here.

He said moving toward this objective, the government has adopted the National Health Policy 2017 with the aim to provide affordable healthcare for all.

Ministers of Health from the countries of the WHO South East Asia Region (SEAR), NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Secretary (Health) Preeti Sudan, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh and WHO DDG Jane Allison were also present at the inaugural session.

Reiterating the commitment of the Government, Mr Nadda stated that under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has recently launched the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya scheme under the ambitious programme called 'Ayushman Bharat' , one of the central pillars of this year’s budget.

He further said that ‘Ayushman Bharat' rests on the twin pillars of Health and Wellness Centres for provision of comprehensive primary healthcare services and the Prime Minister's National Health Protection Mission for secondary and tertiary care to 100 million families.

“Under the first pillar of Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana, we are reaching, out to approximately 40 per cent of country's population roughly covering 500 million individuals, who will be provided an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh to cover secondary and tertiary health-care.

'Initially spanning almost 1300 procedures under 20 different specialties, this will be the largest government funded health protection scheme in the world,” the Health Minister elaborated.

He added that under the second pillar, 150 thousand health and wellness centres would bring healthcare closer to people, so that every Indian can have timely access to health care, including diagnostic services and free essential drugs.

Highlighting the initiatives of the Government, Mr Nadda said that although the WHO has fixed 2030 as the timeline for elimination of Tuberculosis, adding that 'our Prime Minister has exhorted us to do it five years ahead of target in 2025'.

'In line with this ambitious plan, India is on track for the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis and we have recently introduced supplementary nutritional support for the complete duration of treatment for patients,” he added.

Mr Nadda further stated that India has already initiated universal screening for prevention and management of five common NCDs including hypertension, diabetes and three common Cancers of oral cavity, breast and cervix at pan India level.

He also informed that the Health Ministry has started a unique initiative called AMRIT Deendayal, an acronym for 'Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment' - Centres that provide medicines for cancer & cardiovascular diseases and cardiac implants at significantly reduced prices.

The Government has also opened Jan Aushadhi stores to make available quality affordable essential medicines to people in need.

Addressing the participants, the Union Health Minister said that India has always supported regional and global public health issues whether it be advocacy, technical collaboration, research and development, partnerships or improving the accessibility and affordability of health services and high quality essential medical products.

Also present at the event were Ambassadors and High Commissioners from the member countries, senior officers of the Ministry and representatives and delegates from across the globe, according to a statement here. (UNI)