National Health Policy 2002 - Salient features
NHP – 2002 focuses on the need for enhanced funding and an organizational restructuring of the national public health initiatives in order to facilitate more equitable access to the health facilities.
The Policy is focused on those diseases which are principally contributing to the disease burden – TB, Malaria and Blindness from the category of historical diseases; and HIV/AIDS from the category of ‘newly emerging diseases’.
The governments and private sector programme planners will have to design separate schemes, tailor-made to the health needs of women, children, geriatrics, tribals and other socio-economically under-served sections. An adequately robust disaster management plan has to be in place.
Consistent with the primacy given to ‘equity’, a marked emphasis has been provided for expanding and improving the primary health facilities, including the new concept of the provisioning of essential drugs through Central funding. The Policy also commits the Central Government to an increased under-writing of the resources for meeting the minimum health needs of the people. Thus, the Policy attempts to provide guidance for prioritizing expenditure, thereby facilitating rational resource allocation.
This Policy broadly envisages a greater contribution from the Central Budget for the delivery of Public Health services at the State level. However, it highlights the expected roles of the State administration, NGOs and other institutions of civil society.
The attainment of improved health levels would be significantly dependent on population stabilisation, as also on complementary efforts from other areas of the social sectors – like improved drinking water supply, basic sanitation, minimum nutrition, etc. - to ensure that the exposure of the populace to health risks is minimized.
In the ultimate analysis, the quality of health services, and the consequential improved health status of the citizenry, would depend not only on increased financial and material inputs, but also on a more empathetic and committed attitude in the service providers, whether in the private or public sectors. Any policy in the social sector is critically dependent on the service providers treating their responsibility not as a commercial activity, but as a service, albeit a paid one. In the area of public health, an improved standard of governance is a prerequisite for the success of any health policy.