Universal Health Coverage

In: Social Issues

Submitted By drteju
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Pages 18
COMMENTARY

Long on Aspiration, Short on Detail
Report on Universal Health Coverage
Sujatha Rao

The recommendations of the Planning Commission’s High Level Expert Group on Access to Universal Healthcare are significant because they make explicit the need to contextualise health within the rights. However, the problem with the report is that it does not ask why many of the same recommendations that were made by previous committees have not been implemented. The HLEG neither recognises the problems, constraints and compulsions at the national, state and district levels nor offers any solutions on how to deal with them.

I

The author is grateful to Sunil Nandraj for his insightful comments and suggestions which helped in writing this article. Sujatha Rao (ksujatharao@hotmail.com) is a former secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

n October 2010 the Planning Com­ mission constituted the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The group in its report submitted in late 2011 made sev­ eral recommendations pertaining to human resources for health, access to drugs, social determinants of health, governance, financing, and people’s par­ ticipation. A majority of the recommen­ dations find resonance in earlier expert committee reports. The recommendations made in earlier reports include universal health cover­ age as a right of every citizen (Bhore, 1946; constantly raised by civil society); increasing public health spending to 3% of GDP (National Commission on Macro­ economics and Health – NCMH – 2005, Common Minimum Programme of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) I, 2004); the concept of having a benefit package that is universally available as an entitlement (NCMH 2005); increasing the overall size of the health workforce to achieve the World Health Organisation (WHO) global norm of 2.3 workers for…...

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