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Table of Contents
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 2-3

India's commitment towards global vision: Universal health coverage

1 Editor in Chief, IJCFM, Dean, Professor and HOD, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, India
2 Senior Resident, Department of Community Medicine & Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, India

Date of Web Publication1-Feb-2019

Correspondence Address:
Vikas Bhatia
Dr Vikas Bhatia, Dean, Professor and HOD, Department of Community Medicine & Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar-751019
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2113.251343

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How to cite this article:
Bhatia V, Sahoo DP. India's commitment towards global vision: Universal health coverage. Indian J Community Fam Med 2018;4:2-3

How to cite this URL:
Bhatia V, Sahoo DP. India's commitment towards global vision: Universal health coverage. Indian J Community Fam Med [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Jan 24];4:2-3. Available from: https://www.ijcfm.org/text.asp?2018/4/1/2/251343

What if everyone had access to the quality health services they need? What if people weren’t pushed into poverty by paying for the health care services? This could be truly achieved if concrete efforts are made to assure that everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health services without facing any financial hardship. To draw the attention towards the importance of global health, WHO has adopted this year's theme as – “Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere”. UHC has mainly 3 components: the population covered, the range of services made available; and the extent of financial protection from the costs of health services.[1]

Fifty percent of World's population is yet to get full coverage of essential health services. Around 800 million people (12% of world's population), spent at least 10% of their household budgets to pay for health care services. Thus, by protecting people from paying from their own pockets reduces the risk of pushing people into poverty and provides the basis for long-term economic development.

All UN member states have agreed to try to achieve goals of the theme by 2030, as a part of the sustainable development goals.[2]

India spends 4.5 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health which is less than half the global average of 10% of GDP. However, public spending at just 1.4% of GDP, accounts for only one-third of total health expenditure – significantly lower than the global average of 6% of GDP. Around 22% of 1.3 billion people in India are below poverty line.[3] The low government financing of health pushes the costs to its citizens forcing them to meet healthcare costs Out Of Pockets (OOP). In the year 2014, OOP expenditure as a proportion of total health expenditure was very high in India (62.8 %) as compared to the global average of 18.6%.[4]

Though 68.8% population live in rural areas, estimated 80% of hospital beds and health care providers are in urban areas. The public sector provides an estimated 20% of outpatient and 40% of hospitalization services.[5]

India has made considerable progress in public health since independence. Many states have reported significant improvements in key health indicators like institutional deliveries, full immunization, availability of diagnostic, family welfare services and disease control programs etc. as a result of various reforms being implemented under NRHM. Despite India facing many challenges in health system, it continues to make efforts towards universal coverage.

To achieve Universal health coverage in India, high level expert group report recommends: increase public expenditures on health to at least 2.5% by the end of the 12th five year plan, and to at least 3% of GDP by 2022; ensure availability of free essential medicines; general taxation as the principal source of health care financing; focus on primary health care & strengthening of district hospital; 70% of health care expenditure on primary health care; integration of all government funded insurance schemes with the UHC system; ensure adherence to quality assurance standards and others.[6]

“Ayushman Bharat” is a centrally sponsored National health protection scheme launched by Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 14th April, 2018 and is to be the world's largest government funded health care program. It will cover over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families by providing coverage up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.[7] One of the important steps in this scheme is to reach the maximum population through Health and Wellness Centre, whose importance is also envisioned in National Health Policy 2017. Under this scheme, 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centre are planned to bring the health care system closer to the doors of the people. These centers will provide comprehensive health care which includes, non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health services, free essential drugs and diagnostic services. The provisions under Ayushman Bharat could move India closer to the goal of universal health coverage and build Swasth Bharat. With this implementation, 40% of the underprivileged population will have access to secondary and tertiary level institutions.[7]

However, UHC can be achieved if health system is more people centered, strong and efficient, services are more affordable and available to all through well trained and motivated workers and easily available.

  References Top

Attaran A, Capron AM. Universal health coverage and health laws. Lancet [Internet]. 2014;383(9911):25.  Back to cited text no. 1
WHO | Universal health coverage (UHC). WHO [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2018 Apr 16]; Available from: http://www.who.int/ mediacentre/factsheets/fs395/en/  Back to cited text no. 2
Government of India Planning Commission. Report of the expert group to review the methodology for measurement of poverty. 2014;87.  Back to cited text no. 3
Embed this Story - Exposure [Internet]. [cited 2018 Apr 16]. Available from: https://un-india.exposure.co/achieving- universal-health-coverage/embed  Back to cited text no. 4
Achieving universal health coverage by UN India – Exposure [Internet]. [cited 2018 Apr 17]. Available from: https://un-india. exposure.co/achieving-universal-health-coverage  Back to cited text no. 5
Planning Commission of India. High Level Expert Group Report on Universal Health Coverage for India. Work Pap [Internet]. 2011;367. Available from: http://ideas.repec.org/p/ess/wpaper/ id4646.html%5Cnhttp://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/ genrep/rep_uhc0812.pdf  Back to cited text no. 6
Ayushman Bharat - National Health Protection Mission | National Portal of India [Internet]. [cited 2018 Apr 19]. Available from: https://www.india.gov.in/spotlight/ayushman-bharat-national- health-protection-mission  Back to cited text no. 7


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