A high level meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday decided to increase the total Government expenditure on the health sector to 2.5 per cent of the GDP by the end of the coming twelfth plan period, from the current level of around 1.4 per cent of the GDP.
Chaired by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Pulok Chatterji, the meeting decided to request the Planning Commission to allocate adequate resources to achieve the target and motivate and incentivise the States, since health was primarily a State subject and outlay of States for the sector would be critical in this regard.
An official press release on the meeting said the Planning Commission in consultation with the Health Ministry would work out an appropriate mechanism/ scheme for the purpose,
Planning Commission Member [Secretary], Sudha Pillai, attended the meeting, apart from Union Health Secretary, P.K. Pradhan and five senior officers of the Health Ministry.
The meeting, among other things, decided that the Health Ministry prepare a “clear’’ roadmap to merge all the National Rural Health Missions schemes to bring them under one umbrella and that the merger may begin from the coming financial year and be completed by 2013-14.
It also decided that the Clinical Establishments [Registration and Regulation] Act, which was passed by Parliament in 2010 be brought into effect soon so that its provisions are operationalised at the earliest.
It further wanted that the work on the establishment of the National Centre for Disease Control be completed in two years and that the integrated disease surveillance project is strengthened with setting up of public health laboratories at State and district levels.
Besides, it asked the Health Ministry to work towards getting a Bill passed by Parliament for setting up of a national commission on human resources in health to ensure that the country had adequate numbers of doctors, nurses, ANMs and other paramedics.
It decided that an approach paper for induction of health managers and a creation of a public health cadre be prepared for inclusion in the 12th plan and that efforts be taken to strengthen facilities at primary health centres, community health centres and district hospitals so as to provide for a minimum package of care to all citizens through provision of cashless, hassle-free outpatient, inpatient and diagnostic care, with adequate supply of essential medicines.
The meeting also called for steps to speed up the implementation of the Union Cabinet’s decision to establish a central procurement agency for bulk purchase of drugs and to quicken the process of preparation of standard treatment protocols.
The meeting, which was held at the direction of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urged for early introduction in Parliament of a Bill to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, which seeks to strengthen the enforcement mechanism of drug control.
It also wanted the Health Ministry to work closely with other agencies dealing with social determinants of health such as nutrition, safe drinking water, hygiene education and sanitation so that there was more focus on prevention of diseases and promotion of good health.
The meeting specifically focussed on the recommendations of the National Commission for macroeconomics and Health and the High Level Expert Group on Health set up by the plan panel.