Experts will provide technical support on health financing of the universal health coverage scheme
(Livemint & the Wall Street Journal) - As the health ministry begins the overhaul of India’s healthcare system, experts from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) will lend them a helping hand. The experts will assist the health ministry with capacity building, ministerial leadership training and will provide technical support on financing the proposed universal health coverage scheme.
According to health ministry officials, experts will provide technical support on health financing of the universal health coverage scheme.
The delegation includes David Hunter, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at HSPH; Peter Berman, professor of the practice of global health systems and economics; and Michael Sinclair, executive director of ministerial leadership in health programme at HSPH, confirmed officials close to the development.
The health ministry intends to engage state-level leaders and bureaucrats in the implementation of reforms suggested within the coming plan period (2012-2017).
Meanwhile, the stand off between health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, over the budgetary allocation for health under the 12th Five Year Plan is far from resolved. A senior official in the Planning Commission stated on the condition of anonymity that, “the health ministry has received the largest increase compared to other ministries. It is true they want more. So does everyone else. The Plan has to observe overall resource constraints. All ministries taken together want about 18% more than the total available. This is normal at this stage. We always say that they should show us that they can spend wisely what they have been given and we will see as the Plan proceeds. The ministry had said one of their departments didn’t get enough but we have told them they can make inter-departmental shifts within the Budget.”
The health ministry is also pushing for removal of the word ‘integrated’ health system from the chapter as it implies using a managed health network approach. “While the Planning Commission is interpreting it as using a network-based approach, the health ministry wants it to simply imply continuum of care through primary, secondary and tertiary levels. The health chapter is currently undergoing last minute changes before being sent to the cabinet for approval,” said another senior official in the health ministry.