WHO lauds National Health Protection Scheme, Ayushman Bharat (ET Healthcare)


NEW DELHI: World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday lauded National Health Protection Scheme and Ayushman Bharat initiative, saying they have the potential of transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of Indians.
“The new National Health Protection Scheme has the potential not only to improve health, but to help lift people out of poverty,” Ghebreyesus said at a gathering of health officials and experts at the NITI Aayog, the government’s premier think-tank. “The reforms which India is embarking on are bold, and they must be.” He, however, said the government should tread with caution, learning with international experience but using home-grown solutions.
Outlining three crucial precautions the government must take, Ghebreyesus said, “To get best returns on investment, it is important to focus on quality of services, especially in primary health care, and to prioritise those who are most disadvantaged – enormous gains can be made relatively cheaply in these groups.” “Second, it is important to equip and empower nurses and other mid-level health workers, who can carry much of the burden of providing care if they are given right training and permission. Since nurses are mostly women, investments need to be made in health as well as gender equality,” he said.
Pointing out that the private sector plays an important role in India’s healthcare system, where more than 70% people are seeking care at private facilities, he said “regulation is important to ensure profits do not come before people”. “With the right safeguards, private providers will be crucial partners on the road to universal health coverage,” Ghebreyesus said.
Extending WHO’s support to the NHS, Ghebreyesus said if a country as large and complex as India can achieve universal health coverage, any country can. “Your success would mean that no country, at any income level, can say UHC is out of their reach,” he said.


Source –ET Healthcare