Will India’s national health policy deliver universal health coverage?

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2912 (Published 01 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2912
  1. Manu Raj Mathur, research scientist and assistant professor1,
  2. K Srinath Reddy, president1,
  3. Christopher Millett, NIHR professor of public health12
  1. 1Public Health Foundation of India, Gurgaon, India
  2. 2School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London W6 8RP, UK
  1. Correspondence to: C Millett c.millett{at}imperial.ac.uk

Draft policy is missing some important details

The Union Government of India recently released its draft 2015 national health policy.1 This is the first iteration in India’s national health policy since 2002, catalysed by changes in the central and state governments after 2014 elections. The draft policy comes at an important time. India’s economy is growing quickly, with more money available for public spending. Its private healthcare industry is expanding rapidly, while Indians experience the double burden of infectious and non-communicable disease and high out of pocket expenditure on healthcare. The new policy’s primary goal is “the attainment of the highest possible level of good health and wellbeing, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.”1

India’s current health profile reflects the combined effects of multiple transitions (demographic, epidemiological, and nutritional) overlaid by uneven economic development, an under-resourced public health system, and inadequate multisectoral action on the determinants of health. Striking inequalities in health indicators are present across very diverse states and heterogeneous population groups. The new policy advocates action on the social determinants …

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