In a Union budget wish list, civil society organisations call for course correction in policy and improving access to healthcare in India
The government's focus on improving health indicators stated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has worked against the aims of universal health coverage, said experts at the National Convention on Union Budget 2015-16 held in Delhi on January 8 and 9. They recommended that the focus must shift towards comprehensive health policies rather than specific issues.
"Because of this focus, we have specific programmes like those on maternal health and infant mortality. But we need to meet the needs of all problems that women face. MDGs have fragmented health policy. We are asking for a comprehensive framework," said Ravi Duggal from the Indian arm of US-based non-profit International Budget Partnership.
The document “Policy Asks and Expectations from Union Budget 2015-16”, presented by Indian civil society organisation People's Budget Initiative, states that addressing the shortage of staff in the health sector must be top priority. According to the 12th Five Year Plan document, India faces a 76 per cent shortage of doctors in the public sector and an 88 per cent shortage of specialists in government facilities. The shortage of community health centres is placed at 37 per cent. (See box)
|Category||Shortfall (in percentage)|
|Midwives and nurses||52|
|Primary health centres||24|
|Community health centres||37|
|Source: Vol III, 12th Five Year Plan document|
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