UN backed panel delibrates on universal health coverage in India

The discussion brought out key issues related to the concept and process of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and lessons to be learnt from countries in different regions of the world


"The disease burden, infrastructural and personnel requirements and health financing situation are the three elements that need to be analyzed to plan the design of the UHC model(s) to be rolled out in India," remarked Professor Indrani Gupta, Institute of Economic Growth at a panel discussion supported by the United Nations in India deliberated on India's route to Universal Health Coverage.

"The ministry of health and family welfare has already suggested a list of indicators for an essential health package which need to be taken into consideration. The roll out process has to be accompanied by a solid management information system and monitoring and evaluation framework from the start, to help in course correction based on evaluations," Prof Gupta added.

 In her remarks, Lise Grande, United Nations Resident Coordinator said, "Universal Health Coverage is a high priority in India. We are particularly worried about families who fall below the poverty line when someone falls ill and the family has to struggle to pay for health care."

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India highlighted the importance of substantially increasing the government expenditure on health in India which is one of the lowest in the world, at around one percent of GDP. She commended the policy intent outlined by the Planning Commission to increase government spending on health to 1.87 percent of GDP by 2017.

 About 100 participants consisting of officials, professionals, students from health and development related institutions, the media and the United Nations attended the panel discussion.

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