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Saturday, 24 March 2018

The Hindu Editorial : A First Step


The Hindu Editorial : A First Step

Title: A First Step

[The National Health Protection Mission requires a bold, holistic (समग्र) approach]

The NDA government’s scheme to provide health cover of ₹5 lakh per year to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families through the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission has taken a step forward with the Union Cabinet approving the modalities of its implementation.

ü  Considering the small window, just over a year, available before the term of the present government ends, urgent action is needed to roll out such an ambitious scheme.

ü  For a start, the apex council that will steer the programme and the governing board to operationalise it in partnership with the States need to be set up.

ü  Since the NHPM represents the foundation for a universal health coverage system that should eventually cover all Indians, it needs to be given a sound legal basis, ideally through a separate law.

ü  It will also enable much-needed regulatory control over pricing of hospital-based treatments.

ü  The initial norms set for availing benefits under the NHPM, which subsumes earlier health assurance schemes, appear to make the inclusion of vulnerable groups such as senior citizens, women and children contingent on families meeting other criteria, except in the case of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe households.

ü  The government should take the bold step of including these groups universally

ü  Universal health coverage is defined by the WHO as a state when “all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them”.

ü  This underscores the importance of raising not just core budgetary spending every year, but paying attention to social determinants of health. Affordable housing, planned urban development, pollution control and road safety are some aspects vital for reducing the public health burden.

ü  Unfortunately, governments are paying little attention to these issues, as the quality of life erodes even with steady economic growth.

ü  It is a challenging task to make all this a reality, and the government will have to work hard to put it in place.

  • Modalities (noun) - modal quality (तौर- तरीके)
  • Ambitious (adj.) - aspiring, determined (महत्वकांशी)
  • Steer (Verb) - guide, direct (मार्गदर्शन करना)
  • Subsumed (Verb) - include or absorb (सम्मलित करना)
  • Vulnerable(Adj.) -in need of special care, support, or protection because of age, disability, or risk of abuse or neglect. (endangered, unsafe, unprotected)
  • Contingent(Adj.) - dependent Incidental, Emergent (आकस्मिक)

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