Public Health Innovation : Health for All

Context : 

Due to COVID-19 Health Emergency, Public Health has been brought to the forefront. For mitigating the ongoing Pandemic challenges, one thing has become clear - the need for affordable and accessible "Health care for All".

What are we learned from this Pandemic ?

The pandemic taught us, diseases know no boundaries and do not restrict themselves to a particular set of people, nation or community. Unless everyone is protected, no one is left behind for essential health care.

What is the idea behind 'Health for All' ?

The idea behind 'Health for All' is intrinsically interlinked with the idea of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which envisages, that everyone, everywhere, has access to essential healthcare services without facing financial hardship. This concept is also outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)- to which India is a signatory - given the interdependence of health and global development. 

Health Challenges in India :

• To provide affordable health care in equitable way to more than 1.3 billion people is a itself challenge.
• Approximately 63% health expenditure is met by Out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) by the households.
• Almost 10 crore population goes below poverty line (BPL) due to high OOPE.
• NCDs account for 55.4% of the diseases burden and 62% death in India and expected to rise further to over 70%.
• The issue of critical regulation systems on food, drugs and diagnostic etc.
• India still facing problems of Child Mortality, Maternal Mortality, Infant Mortality, Malnutritions, etc.

India's Public Health Innovation : 'Health for All' :

• Ayushman Bharat : 
The Government of India introduced it in 2018. The largest health care programmes in the world. 

Currently, in the context of pandemic, Ayushman Bharat provide free testing and treatment for its 53 Crore beneficiaries.
Ayushman Bharat is a step in direction of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

• National Health Mission : 
Numerous programmes have been designed to address health issues under wider umbrella of National Health Mission by the Government of India.

• Swachh Bharat Mission : 
It's is one of innovative programmes of the Government of India for improving health of the people through sanitation, sewage treatment, clean drinking water, etc.

• The Universal Immunization Programmes
The largest health programmes of the world has achieved stellar results such as the eradication of smallpox and polio along with ensuring coverage to millions of people in the over 3 decades of its functioning.

Improving Life Expectancy in India : Various health programs on health ranging from Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescents health (RMNCAH), nutritional programmes, communicable and non-communicable diseases to health syasys strengthening programs. All these implemented by the Health Ministry. 

• National Strategic Plans : 
To complete eradication of TB and Malaria by 2025 and 2030 respectively.

Public-Private Partnership Innovations : 'Health for All' :

It is better seen in the Current Pandemic (COVID-19 Crisis)  -

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) developed and validated the indigenous Covid Kavach Elisa test for antibody detection of the virus.

• Innovation in the space of Research and Development : For development of -
Affordable PPE Kits,
Respiratory aids, etc.
All aimed at ensuring that tools to tackle the pandemic reaches the greatest number of people.
These are also the positive steps towards the AtmaNirbhar Bharat.

• In January 2020, India had only one laboratory testing for COVID-19, at the National Institute of Virology, Pune. And Currently, India has more than 2100 laboratory across the country which are conducting COVID-19 tests.

• During national lockdown, the services of the Ministry of Civil Aviation under 'Mission Lifeline Udan' were availed. They carried ICMR consignments of diagnostic material across the country. Doorstep deliveries were coordinated with several courier companies and state governments.

                           Indeed, there is a need for greater involvement of private sector in taking an active role in driving innovation and initiative that support the goals of UHC and 'Health for All'.

For a sustainable and effective model for Health for All, maintaining balance between cost, quality and access to essential healthcare services is crucial. There is need to strengthen primary health care, raise public health expenditure and provide greater financial coverage, we also need an enabling environment for public health innovation through collaborative action to provide affordable tools to those who need it the most. Only then we will able to ensure that no one is left behind when the next public health crisis strikes.


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