Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday that the National Health Assurance Mission (NHAM) will be rolled out in less than six months.
Chairing the meeting of the state health secretaries, Vardhan said NHAM would end forever the marginalization of the majority of Indians from quality and affordable health care.
NHAM is presently being readied for submission to the union cabinet. After it meets with approval, it will be rolled out by the end of the current financial year in a phased manner.
"The blueprint of the mission is almost ready. We will incorporate viable suggestions from the state health secretaries with regard to the mission and send the details of the proposals to the PMO. After incorporating the suggestions from the PMO, it will be sent to the union cabinet for approval. We hope to roll it out in less than six months," said Vardhan.
"We are also speaking to the finance minister to give some incentives to people, who will opt for health insurances," he added.
Few major components of NHAM include preventive health, access to free drugs, access to free diagnostics, free health services and involvement of tertiary healthcare through various insurance mechanisms.
The state health secretaries raised concerns about the need for a strong regulatory mechanism in purchasing services from private sector, staff crunch at the state, district and the primary level health centres, clarity on the certain policy issues like distribution of generic drugs, strengthening of public health centres and primary health centres, proper utilisation nursing cadres as first level service providers at PHCs, digitisation of the all medical records at all levels, standardisation of Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act and setting up of a separate council for paramedics.
"We have also written to MCI to make rural posting compulsory for post-graduate students for at least 6 months to 1 year," said Vardhan after hearing the health secretaries.
The minister also announced the "Pan-India campaign days" programme which would empower people with information packages and orientation services on many sensitive public health areas. These 'days' would be marked by mass contact programmes and hand out free diagnosis, vaccination and preventive care facilities to people all over India.
A list of diseases and conditions has been drawn up by for the preventive campaign. These are: measles with rubella, malaria, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, TB and chronic pulmonary diseases, leprosy, obesity, cataract, deafness, geriatric and AIDS.