(Daily News) - Nearly 11,000 poor people have availed free medical facilities under a Maharashtra government health initiative since it was kicked off three months ago, a top official said here Wednesday.
The Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana (RGJAY), implemented from July this year, covers around five million poor people in eight districts and will cover over 20 million people across the state by March 2013, said its chief executive officer K. Venkatesh.
"The response so far has been very encouraging, but we have a lot more to do and we are earnestly on it," Venkatesh told IANS.
Considered a brainchild of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the RGJAY was launched last year in collaboration with the National Insurance Company Ltd.
(The Hindu) - A World Bank study on health insurance in India has recommended increasing health insurance coverage for both outpatient and inpatient care to include all poor and near-poor patients. It suggests a balanced approach, building upon infrastructure already available, augmenting it with accessible private capacity and utilising the lessons learned from the existing government-sponsored health schemes.
The World Bank study named ‘Government-sponsored Health Insurance in India: Are You Covered?’ carried out for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare says over 300 million people or more than 25 per cent of India’s population gained access to some form of health insurance by 2010, up from 55 million in 2003-04. More than 180 million of these were people below the poverty line.
It also suggests that new and innovative health financing schemes can help India progress towards universal health coverage.
(The Times of India) - In a strategic move to silence the YSR Congress leaders, who have been lambasting his government on the implementation of YSR's pet health insurance scheme Aarogyasri, chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday said the government is seriously considering bringing the entire nine crore population of the state under the Aarogyasri cover.
The chief minister promised to make the Rajiv Aarogyasri scheme a viable option for the people to relieve them of all health costs. "We are slowly expanding the scheme to cover all sections of society with a view to studying the lapses in its implementation. Our ultimate goal is to bring the state's entire population under the Aarogyasri cover," he declared amidst thunderous claps and slogan-shouting at a public meeting on the third day of his Indiramma Baata here on Thursday.
New generation of health financing schemes can help India progress towards universal health coverage, says new World Bank study
(The World Bank) - In an environment of low public financing for health in India, the new generation of government-sponsored health insurance schemes (GSHISs) is introducing explicit entitlements, improving accountability, increasing patient choice, and leveraging private capacity, particularly with an aim of reaching the poor, says a new World Bank study. The study also identifies a number of design and operational challenges that the schemes need to address to make them sustainable.
The World Bank study–"Government-Sponsored Health Insurance in India: Are You Covered?"–is the first comprehensive review of India’s major government sponsored health insurance schemes. It has analyzed the findings from three central-level schemes and six state schemes. The study focuses on some of the new generation schemes that target the poor and documents key design, institutional and operational features of these GSHISs.
(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.
(IBN Live) - Universal Health Coverage in India is projected to come up by 2022 after two five-year plans but inadequate human resources willing to serve in rural areas seems to be the hurdle.
“The state has over 2,300 primary health centres (PHCs) which are far more than what the state requires (which is 1,500) but most of these primary health centres are severely understaffed,” said Dr M R Mohanraju, Executive Director of the Karnataka State Health System Resource Centre.
He was speaking at a news conference to announce that the Evidence Into Public Health Policy (EPHP) will be held on October 5 and 6 in the city in which over 300 researchers, practitioners, and policy makers of the public health sector will participate.
He also said that the National Urban Health Mission is likely to be implemented by 2013.
The EPHP is aimed at discussing how to strengthen health systems to achieve universal health coverage.
Experts from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Pu
(Mumbai Mirror) - A little more than two months after it was launched, the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Arogya Yojna, the state government's health insurance scheme for the poor, has received a rousing response in Mumbai, with an estimated 4,546 patients getting treated for various ailments and undergoing lifesaving surgeries.
"We never thought this scheme will become so popular so soon and I am glad poor patients are benefitting from it," Suresh Shetty, state health minister, told Mumbai Mirror. "In rural areas, the poor could not afford quality care even if they mortgaged their land. Now, they get treated for free. I get so many letters from MLAs asking for this scheme to be implemented in their constituencies."
Authorities said close to 200 people are registering every day for various procedures and that they only expect this number to go up.
"When we started the first phase of the scheme on July 2, only a handful of people enrolled," said Dr K Venkatesh, CEO, RGJAY.
(Livemint & the Wall Street Journal) - More than 60 million people were pushed below the poverty line in India by healthcare costs in 2011, said the Lancet medical journal, making a case for universal health coverage (UHC) in its latest issue.
This comes amid international debate on the role of insurance, affordable medicines and access to healthcare. The Lancet papers compare experiments with UHC in nine countries and agree with the assertion by World Health Organization (WHO) director general Margaret Chan that “universal health coverage is the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer”.
The papers seek to make an “ethical, political, economic and health arguments in favour of UHC”. The paper will be presented in New York on 26 September at the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting that’s attended by heads of states.
(Livemint & Wall Street Journal) - India is likely to finalize a draft Plan document next week to introduce universal health coverage in India. Montek Singh Ahluwalia , deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, spoke in an interview about the challenges of pushing public health reforms with limited resources at hand. Edited excerpts:
Will the government be able to push through sweeping healthcare reforms?
I don’t think the short-term problems of the economy should have any effect on the forward movement of health reforms. Steps are being taken to revive the economy and I am sure we will succeed. Meanwhile, we should keep our eyes on the medium term objective of developing a viable strategy for health sector reforms. One thing is clear, we have to spend more money on public health facilities and we will.
But money is not the only issue.
(The Hindu) - As many as 4,05,648 identity cards have been issued so far to beneficiaries under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme in Cuddalore district.
It has been proposed to issue one lakh more cards soon under the scheme, according to Rajendra Ratnoo, District Collector. Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Mr. Ratnoo said that ever since the scheme was launched on January 11, 2012, the administration had organised 60 free special health camps across the district. Out of 31,841 patients screened in these camps, as many as 2,788 had been selected for diagnostic procedures and surgeries under the scheme. Subsequently, they were given medical treatment worth over Rs. 7.39 crore.