A Giant Leap for Affordable Healthcare

Dear Readers,

Thank you for your continuous support. With your blessings your favourite magazine, Double Helical is growing by leaps and bounds to serve you a veritable feast of health news, views, research and development month after month.
In the current issue, we focus on Interim Union Health Budget 2019. Although it is said that it can certainly pave the way for providing health for all, the medical fraternity believes that the Modi government’s ambitious healthcare policy will become a reality only if the allocation for the health sector rises considerably from the current 1.15 % of the GDP to 2.5 percent.
The spotlight of the recently announced health budget is Ayushman Bharat, an ambitious unique affordable healthcare scheme, which provides health cover to 10 crore families. But this scheme should not become a victim of poor governance. A lot of thought process is required to go into its implementation. A robust system should be developed where resources available with both the public and the private sector are pooled, utilised and managed to achieve the desired goals.
In India, the existing primary healthcare model is limited in scope. Even where there is a well-functioning public primary health centre, only services related to pregnancy care, limited childcare and certain services related to national health programmes are provided, which represent only 15 per cent of all morbidities for which people seek care.
Niti Aayog believes that the battle against non-communicable diseases can only be won through a primary health system that ensures that chronic diseases are not only detected early, but also that preventive action is taken to ensure improved lifestyles. The Aayog termed the decision to launch the PMJAY under the Ayushman Bharat a path breaking step towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
As Special Story of this issue, we focus on the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill 2019 proposed by the Niti Aayog and approved by the cabinet. It has come in for criticism by the Homoeopathic Medical Association of India, one of the largest Associations of homoeopaths across the country.
The Central Council of Homoeopathy maintains the Central Register of Homoeopathy and regulates the education in homoeopathy in India besides other things. The council has been constituted by the Union Government, under the Act of Parliament namely the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973.It is leant that the Government with the help of Niti Aayog is contemplating to repeal Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 and bring National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill which will provide all Chairmen, Presidents and members nominated by the Government but only 4 members to be elected in states from homoeopathy.
The Homoeopathic Medical Association of India believes that the Central Government through the Ministry of AYUSH had promulgated the Homoeopathy Central Council Ordinance on 18th May. 2018 which later on got passed as a Bill and enacted as an Act by which it superseded the elected President, Vice President and members and replaced them with a Board of six Governors. The provision of only 4 members to be elected in states will keep elected members in minority when any policies are to be decided by voting.
Our another story deals with influenza which might cause severe illness or death especially in people among high risk groups such as pregnant women, children under 59 months, elderly, and individuals with chronic medical conditions. As we know that seasonal influenza is a respiratory viral infection with seasonal occurrences every year. Till 3rd Feb 2019, total 6701 cases and 226 deaths from influenza have been reported in the country. Majority of cases have been reported from 11 states (and majority of deaths have been reported from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab). Deaths have been seen more in persons having co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension etc. MOHFW deputed a Public Health Team to states to assess the situation and assist them in strengthening response to the increase in cases.
You will find many more informative stories based on deep analysis and ground reporting which provide unique insight. So, happy reading to all of you.

Amresh K Tiwary,

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