National Digital Health Blueprint Released

  • On 16th July, 2019, the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) was released by the government bringing in the National Digital Health Eco-system (NDHE) to guarantee the availability of healthcare services on large-scale.
  • A committee chaired by J Satyanarayana was constituted to devise an implementation framework for the National Digital Health Blueprint.

Vision of NDHB:

  • It encapsulates the goals of NHP 2017 and aims to leapfrog to the digital age by providing a wide range of digital health services.
  • It will support the quality of healthcare, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in an efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely and safe manner through the provision of a wide range of data, information, and infrastructure services.

Objectives

·To Build State of Art Digital Health System: To establish state-of-the-art digital health systems, for managing the core digital health data, and the infrastructure required for its smooth exchange.

·Establishing National and Regional Registries: To establish National and Regional Registries, to create Single Source of Truth in respect of Clinical Establishments, Healthcare Professionals, Health Workers and Pharmacies.

·Creation of Personal Health Records: To create a system of Personal Health Records, based on international standards that can be easily accessible to the citizens and to the healthcare professionals and services providers, based on citizen-consent.

·Promotion of Health Application System: To promote development of enterprise-class health application systems with a special focus on addressing the Sustainable Development Goals related to the health sector.

·Adoption of Cooperative Federalism:  To adopt the best principles of cooperative federalism while working with the States and Union Territories for the realization of the Vision.

·National Portability: To ensure National Portability in the provision of health sector for better and quality service delivery.

Issues in Healthcare System:

  • Lack of Awareness and Illiteracy: Lack of awareness is an issue which is faced in building access to healthcare. Poor educational status leads to non-utilization of limited health services and rise in preventable risk factors.
  • Lack of Access to Basic healthcare Services: Diagnosis and basic treatment is just not accessible to hundreds of millions of Indian, further aggravating the health issues.
  • Health Infrastructure: Infrastructure is another pain point in the Indian healthcare sector. The country witnesses serious resource shortage on both capital invested and manpower. Also, it faces a severe shortage of hospital beds, the ratio being 0.5 per 1000 population for India as compared to 2.3 for China, 2.6 for Brazil and 3.2 for the US. This ratio is much lower than the requirement of 1 bed per 1000 population as determined for the low-income countries by WHO.
  • Shortage of Health Workers: India faces the problem of acute shortages and inequitable distributions of skilled health workers as have many other low- and middle-income countries. It has 20.6 health workers per 10,000 people, less than the World Health Organisation’s minimum threshold of 22.8. Despite the health sector employing five million workers in India it continues to have low density of health professionals with figures for the country being lower than those of Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, United Kingdom and Brazil, according to WHO.
  • Low Expenditure on Health Sector: India’s per capita expenditure on health continues to be among the lowest in the world. In spite of various innovations in the healthcare sector, in line with India’s continuous pursuit of reforms, the government remains short of its ambition to increase public health spending to 2.5% of GDP. At present, health spending is only 1.15-1.5% of GDP.
  • Low Penetration of Health Insurance: Health insurance low penetration causes further challenge towards access to healthcare. With 75 percent of the Indian population paying for healthcare services from their own pockets, it puts immense financial pressure.
  • Expensive Healthcare Services: Private sector is the dominant player in the healthcare arena in India. Obviously the costs of accessing health services are high since private companies work with the overriding aim of maximising profit, and health is big business in developing nations given the huge size of the potential market due to the population.

Recent Initiatives in Health Sector

Ayushman Bharat

  • Launched in 2018, it is an umbrella of two major health initiatives, namely Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PMJAY):
  • HWCs: It places people and communities at the center of the health care delivery system, making health services responsive, accessible and equitable.
  • PMJAY: it aims to provide healthcare cover to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care requiring hospitalization.

LaQshya- Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative Guideline

  • Launched in 2018, it aims to reduce preventable maternal and newborn mortality, morbidity and stillbirths associated with the care around delivery in the Labour Room and Maternity Operation Theatre (OT) and ensure respectful maternity care.

National Health Policy(NHP) 2017

  • The major commitment of the NHP 2017 is raising public health expenditure progressively to 2.5% of the GDP by 2025. It envisages providing larger package of assured comprehensive primary healthcare through the Health and Wellness Centres. The Policy aims to attain the highest possible level of health and well-being for all at all ages through a preventive and promotive healthcare and universal access to quality health services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush

  • Launched in 2017, it aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality by reaching out to each and every child less than two years of age and all the pregnant women who are left uncovered under the routine immunization programme.

Significance:

  • The NDHB is in line with the vision of the Prime Minister to reach each individual of this country with services at their doorstep under Digital India Programme.
  • Under the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India, National Digital Health Eco-system (NDHE) can ensure availability and access of better healthcare services to everyone on a wider scale.

 

Source : Civil Services Chronicle Online, 16th July, 2019