India’s growth dependent on growth of India’s Health Sector: N K Singh

India’s growth dependent on growth of India’s Health Sector: N K Singh

Agency News

New Delhi, Dec 20: India’s growth dependent on growth of India’s Health Sector and there was a need for a robust audit system in each hospital with a database of statistics of all PHC, CHC, District hospitals, said Fifteenth Finance Commission Chairman N K Singh.

The Commission, led by Mr Singh, held a meeting with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare including Union Health Minister J P Nadda, and his deputies -- A K Choubey and Anupriya Patel.

During the meeting on December 19, the Commission highlighted the need to focus on the way to extract best economic returns from investment already made in health sector.

''The technology enables the daily uploading of data of OPDs, active beds/occupancy, blood tests, ultrasounds, MRIs, deliveries, blood collection, dialysis, surgeries, specialists/nurses working, ICU beds, ventilators etc.and should be available in public domain,'' the meeting held.

The focus should be on ways to increase capability in terms of manpower to face big change for ambitious programmes like PM-JAY, it was maintained.

There was a need to stress on important regulatory legislations for health sector and on which the Ministry should make every effort to secure early Parliament approval. For instance, National Medical Commission, Allied Health Bill deserve priority.

''Horizontal distribution, which is subject to growth without condition is state’s entitlement to receive besides state’s specific grant could also be considered by Finance Commission.

''The options/cost/opportunity of the Ayushman Bharat needs to be fully articulated, particularly in relation to its medium term financial implications for Centre and the States. The estimates, premium of insurance companies have widely varying estimates and need greater consistency/credibility,'' it was held in the meeting.

The Commission was given a detailed proposal on fund requirement by the Department of Health and Family Welfare (DoH&FW) at the meeting.

Some of the major proposals were for untied funds: Health Infrastructure status of the States to be used as a criteria- will help States with significant infrastructure deficit and health lag to get more funds. Ten per cent of fund will be earmarked for the health sector with at least two third being reserved for the primary health.

For performance based incentives, it was proposed that composite health index will be utilised to encourage states to demonstrate performance on year on year basis – should have a weightage of 20 per cent in the performance linked pool.

The DoH&FW informed the commission that the major targets of the National Health Policy 2017 were increase public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of GDP, in a progressive manner, by 2025, increase State sector health spending to more than 8 per cent of their budget by 2020 and Primary Health Expenditure to be two-third of the total health expenditure.

Some of the preliminary issues on the Health Sector under the focus of Commission are Skilled manpower and conditional financial allocation - the two main challenges of the Health Sector today.

Other focus areas include the change of disease spectrum from infectious diseases to degenerative diseases requiring the need to strengthen the Community Health Centers and District Hospitals in the States.

The health sector is a key driver of the 21st Century economy on account of its employment potential and need to improve the medical education in the country. There was a need to increase the post graduate doctors in the country.

Other issues were Need to create ‘Cooperative Model’ rather than a ‘Competitive Model’ between Public and Private Hospitals, Integration of the initiatives taken by the Government like ‘Ayushman Bharat’ and ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, Need for a comprehensive ban of private practice by Government Doctors and Optimum utilisation of the funds allocated by the Centre to the States on Public Health.

There was a need to open more Medical Colleges and Hospitals, for training more manpower which could enable to build the gap between doctor-patient ratios, Need to think in the lines of the price control mechanism in the pharmacy and drugs market and thereby bring uniformity in the Health Care facility and a proposal to include officials from National Health Accounts Division in Ministry of Health which is monitoring the funds allocated to the States.

Requirement of data on funds allocated to the States and their optimum utilisation and outcomes.

The Commission would be forwarding their written comments to the Ministry soon and seeking their comments or actions proposed, according to an official statement here on Thursday. (UNI)