Sarve Santu Niramaya- An Indian Ideal to achieve - Daily Current Affair Article

Why in news?

  • Recently, Prime minister Narendra Modi has announced the National Digital Health mission under which all citizens will have the option of voluntarily opting for a Health ID.
  • National Digital Health mission has 4 key tea features.
  1. Health ID
  2. Personal health records.
  3. Digi Doctor
  4. Health facility register

NDHM will be implemented by National Health Authority under the ministry of Health and family welfare.

National Health ID-

It will be a repository of all health related information of a person. According to the National Health Authority, every patient who wishes to have their Health records available digitally must start by creating this Health ID.

  • Each Health Id will be linked to a Health data consent manager – which will be used to seek the patient's consent and allow for seamless flow of health information from the Personal Health records module.
  • It will contain details of every test, every disease ,the doctors visited, the medicines taken and the diagnosis.
  • This ID can be created by using a person's basic details and mobile number or Aadhaar number.

Probable benefits of this scheme-

  1. National Heath ID provides health data portability which means the doctor who is examining the patient can give more will informed advice and suggestions due to complete access to patient history which was not possible earlier, leading to better diagnosis.
  2. Mission will enhance efficiency and transparency in the health care services in the country.
  3. Citizen will be able to get access of health services and doctors easily even in remote areas by tele-consultation.
  4. Mission will make easy for citizen to find the right doctors, seeking appointment, payment of fee, making several appointments with doctors leading to availability of the best possible healthcare.
  5. Private stakeholders will also get opportunity for creating their even products for health care services resulting in better quality.

Issues and challenges-

  1. Issues related to privacy- As a large amount of personal health date stored using health ID, there are possibilities of the health data to be misused in an absence of privacy law.
  2. Misuse by Insurance companies – large private insurance companies could use sophisticated algorithms access the databases to make risk profiles for people and make access to affordable insurance difficult.
  3. Data mining can prioritise certain rich demographics for their services and direct public and private resources to people who can afford a high premium for their services. This will create discrimination in providing health services.

Crucial problems in health sector- a cause of concern -:

  1. Lack of an adequate number of hospitals with trained staff makes it difficult for achieving the goal of universal health coverage.
  2. The size of the population is lager with huge proportion of rural population poses a major problem for providing accessible, affordable health care services.
  3. The cost of researching, finding, buying appropriate drugs and treatments are very high.
  4. when it comes to chronic illnesses and rare disorders, cost of treatment is very high leading to lack of affordable health care to the people.
  5. Inadequate Funding- Expenditure on public health funding has been low in India which is approximately 1.3% of GDP. As per OECD, India's total out of pocket expenditure is around 2.3% of GDP.
  6. Lack of focus on tackling Non-communicable diseases is in itself a major drawback for health care system in India.
  7. Poor infrastructure and management of services poses a bigger challenge for the access of health services.

Some international examples relevant for India's healthcare services-

  • China stated a system to provide health services to its citizens by the help of barefoot doctors who are healthcare provides. They underwent medical training and worked in rural areas in china. After receiving minimal basic medical and paramedical education, various farmers folk healers, rural healthcare providers provided health care services to common people.
  • Thailand's success has been attributed to what is called the Universal coverage scheme. Thailand's has there government-run insurance programmes and a comprehensive insurance scheme for civil servants. Thailand's public health expenditure is only about 3% of its GDP. Thailand also has a social insurance cover for its organised sector employees.

Government schemes providing health care services other than NDHM-

1) Ayushman Bharat-

It is an umbrella health program launched in 2018 covering health issues at all levels – primary, secondary, tertiary. It has two components-

  1. Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)
  2. Health and wellness centres.

Ayushman Bharat is the largest government funded healthcare programme in the world. PM-JAY will cover the financial protection for prevailing healthcare services at secondary and tertiary level.

Health and wellness centres are aimed to provide cheap and quality health care

2) National Rural Health Mission-

It was launched in 2005 to provide accessible, affordable and quality health care to the rural population. A special focus is on empowered action group states .

NRHM major initiatives includes-

  1. ASHAs – Accredited social Health actions.
  2. Rogi Kalyani samiti (Patient welfare committee)
  3. United grants to sub-centres.
  4. Janani shishu suraksha karyakram- provide fare to &fro transport and free drugs.
  5. Mobile medical Units.
  6. Village health sanitation and Nutrition committee.

Way Forward

Healthier a nation, more progress in economy takes place. So, India should focus on improving health delivery system by increasing its public great expenditure from current 1.3% of GDP.

Niti Aayog has recently published a document, Investment opportunities in India's Healthcare sector which states the expansion of private players to tier 2 and tier 3 hospitals along with manufacturing of medical devices.

Various cutting edge technologies like AI, machine learning, cloud computing must be used for improving the current health care sector and eliminating the perils in the delivery of health services.

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